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October 2004 News Archives


October 31, 2004

  • Johnson wins at Atlanta: in an emotional race, #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, winning and dedicating the win to the 10 people lost in the Hendrick Motorsports plane crash a week ago. With #97-Busch losing an engine early, Johnson was one of the few in the Chase for the Nextel Cup to make up any points on Busch. #6-Martin, who led the most lap and was the dominate carall day, ended up 6th, with #99-Carl Edwards, #01-Joe Nemechek and #9-Kahne rounding out the top five. It is the 7th win of the season for Johnson, his 3rd in a rwo and 13th of his career. The last time a driver won three straight races, was Jeff Gordon, who won the last two race of 1998 [Rockingham and Atlanta] and the 1999 Daytona 500. It was a bad bad for the Busch’s with Kurt losing an engine and finishing 42nd, his brother Kyle went out first with a blown engine, finishing 43rd.
    See my Atlanta Race Info/Rundown Page for top-10, lap leaders, DNFs, caution info, lucky dogs and some notes.
    See results at:
    ThatsRacin.com
    MotorsportsOne
    NASCAR.com.(10-31-2004)
  • Rusty to be fined? NASCAR officials confirmed Sunday they plan to penalize Nextel Cup driver #2-Rusty Wallace for an incident following last Sunday’s race at Martinsville. Wallace is expected to receive a monetary penalty as early as Monday, sources said. Fines for similar incidents in the past have ranged from $5,000 to $10,000. Penske Racing South teammates Ryan Newman and Wallace traded bumps while battling for second place, which sent Wallace to the outside lane, on Lap 494 of 500 of last Sunday’s Subway 500. After the “cool down” lap, Newman, who finished third, drove onto pit road where the top-five cars are required to stop. Wallace followed Newman down and appeared to hit the rear of Newman’s #12 Altell Dodge.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-31-2004)
  • Evernham Tribute UPDATE / IMAGE: Hearing that in remembrance and tribute to Hendrick family and Motorsports, all Evernham Motorsports cars will run the remaining races of the year with black numbers, including this weekend’s special Mad Magazine schemes.(10-27-2004)
    UPDATE: Evernham Motorsports Dodges driven by Jeremy Mayfield and Kasey Kahne will carry black numbers #19 and #9, respectively, the remainder of the season in memory of the victims in the Hendrick Motorsports plane crash last Sunday. Also, the tail number of the plane, 501RH, will be in front of the rear wheel well on the Evernham Motorsports Dodges.(Clear!Blue PR)(10-29-2004)
    IMAGE see an image of the car with the black number #9 and the plane number [circled in the image] on my #9 Team Paint Schemes page.(10-31-2004)
  • Kenseth wins IROC race and Championship: Matt Kenseth won the final event of the 2004 Crown Royal IROC series and a million dollars as he was crowned series champion for the first time. Ryan Newman finished second in the race and in the championship while Danny Lasoski finished the race third. For results, news and standings, see IROCracing.com.(10-31-2004)
  • No Morgan-McClure team in 2005? Jimmy Spencer’s temper has cost him his job with car owner Larry McClure, and McClure’s problems couldn’t come at a worse moment, just as he’s trying to land a sponsor for 2005. McClure has put Mike Wallace in his car for today’s Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500, but beyond that McClure said everything is up in the air. “If we get a sponsor, we’ll be racing next year. If we don’t get a sponsor … I don’t see how anyone can run without a sponsor,” McClure said.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-31-2004)
  • No announcement on RCR 3rd team until Homestead: Richard Childress said he would field three cars for the fourth consecutive season. An announcement on the third car’s sponsor and driver could come at the season finale in Homestead, Fla. AOL isn’t expected to remain with the {#30 to be #7?] team.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(10-31-2004)
  • Racing Stripes at Atlanta Jeff Gordon joined actor Steve Harvey to unveil a special showcar at Atlanta Motor Speedway on October 30 to promote the movie “Racing Stripes.” The animated movie hits theaters in January 2005 and features the voices of Snoop Dogg, Mandy Moore, Dustin Hoffman, and Frankie Muniz. The plot centers around an abandoned baby zebra that grows up believing he’s a racehorse. With the help of barnyard friends and teenage girl who dreams of being a jockey, he overcomes prejudice and self-doubt to pursue his dream of running with thoroughbreds. In addition to unveiling the car, Gordon named an honorary ‘pit crew’ consisting of children afflicted with chronic and life-threatening illnesses to support the mission of the Jeff Gordon Foundation, which will receive a portion of the proceeds from the premiere of the movie.(Gordonline.com)(10-31-2004)
  • Truex Jr. gets Cup sponsor for limited sched in 2005: Martin Truex Jr., leading in the race for this year’s Busch Series championship with three races to go, will return to that series next year and move to Nextel Cup full time in 2006 with Bass Pro Shops as primary sponsor. Truex will run with that company’s backing in all 35 Busch races and seven Cup races in 2005. His tentative Cup schedule next year is to run both Daytona and Talladega races as well as events at Michigan, Indianapolis and Homestead. Bass Pro Shops will then sponsor the #1 Chevy owned by Dale Earnahrdt Inc. in Cup in the 2006 and 2007 seasons.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-31-2004)
  • Tire Shortage at Atlanta? Teams were grumbling yesterday about Goodyear’s tire shortage at Atlanta Motor Speedway, something they say they expected, with the end of the season looming and Goodyear switching to a different Atlanta tire next season. Crews had the Goodyear compound surrounded yesterday afternoon, begging for more tires and trying to make deals with rivals for tires. And the situation was becoming increasingly angry. Some team tire men said things will get better as the weekend goes on, with tire wear improving during the race. Neither NASCAR nor Goodyear had any plans to ration tires. Teams are free to buy and sell tires at will after they’ve gotten their allotment from Goodyear, so multi-car teams, such as the Rick Hendrick and Jack Roush operations, should be in much better shape than smaller operations.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-31-2004)
  • Key Dates in Goodyear History: Highlighting the accomplishments of Goodyear engineers and Goodyear-equipped racers:
    Nov. 6, 1988 – Alan Kulwicki, racing on Goodyear tires, wins the first race in what is now the NASCAR Nextel Cup ever held at Phoenix International Raceway.
    Nov. 9, 1974 – Gerard Larrousse and Henri Pescarolo co-drive their Goodyear-shod Matra-Simca 670B to victory in the six-hour race at Kyalami, the final race of the World Manufacturers Championship season. Larrousse is crowned the driving champion and Matra wins the manufacturers title.
    Nov. 15, 1965 – Craig Breedlove’s rocket-powered car rides tires prepared by Goodyear and becomes the first land-based vehicle to surpass 600 mph. Breedlove’s record speed was 600.601 mph.
    Nov. 15, 1987 – Gerhard Berger collects Goodyear’s 200th Formula One victory when he wins the Australian Grand Prix in Adelaide.(PR)(10-31-2004)
  • Atlanta Race Notes:
    —- Jimmie Johnson won the 2004 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500, scoring his 13th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 108th career start. His last victory came one race ago at Martinsville.
    —- This is Johnson’s third straight victory in as many races. Jeff Gordon was the last driver to win three straight races winning the final two races of 1998 and the first race in 1999. Gordon was also the last driver to win three straight in the same season, winning four consecutive races (Pocono, Indianapolis, Watkins Glen and Michigan) in 1998.
    —- It was Johnson’s seventh victory in 2004 and his first victory in seven races at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It is his fourth top-10 finish at the Georgia superspeedway.
    —- Twelve of his 13 of his victories have occurred on superspeedways.
    —- Johnson has climbed from ninth to second in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings in the last three races.
    —- Johnson led four times for 17 laps including the final 10 of the 325 laps raced. Mark Martin led 227 laps, leading the most laps for the second time in 2004.
    —- This was the 20th victory for Chevrolet in 2004. Ford has nine and Dodge has four. Notebook Items The Chase for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup
    —- With three races remaining in the Chase for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, 316 points separate first to 10th. The largest point margin is between first-place Kurt Busch and second-place Jimmie Johnson, who are separated by 59 points, and Matt Kenseth (ninth) and 10th-place Jeremy Mayfield, also separated by 59. —- Seven drivers in the top-10 in points changed positions at Atlanta Motor Speedway. —- Six of the seven Chase races have been won by drivers competing in The Chase: New Hampshire (Kurt Busch), Dover (Ryan Newman), Talladega (Dale Earnhardt Jr.), Charlotte (Jimmie Johnson), Martinsville (Jimmie Johnson) and Atlanta (Jimmie Johnson). Kansas (Joe Nemechek) is the only race that was won by a non-Chase driver. —- Kurt Busch is the only driver to score a top-10 finish in six of the seven races in the Chase.
    —- With three races remaining, six drivers are now within the 156-point window that could allow a change in the leader at Phoenix. Seventh through 10th all trail by more than 156 points and cannot overtake Kurt Busch at Phoenix No one has been mathematically eliminated from the championship. —- Jimmie Johnson gained 148 points on leader Kurt Busch, the biggest points gain in the standings among the top-10 at Atlanta. Johnson climbed from fourth to second in the standings and is now 59 points behind. —- Six of the Chase drivers finished 26th or worse and only three posted top-10 finishes today.
    —- Mark Martin (second) scored his 14th top-10 finish of the season. It was his 18th top-10 finish in 38 races at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
    —- Carl Edwards (third) scored his fourth top-10 finish and the first top-five finish of his 10-race career. Edwards also led for the first time in his career.
    —- Joe Nemechek (fourth) scored his eighth top-10 finish in 2004, including five of the last seven races. It was his sixth top-10 finish in 22 races at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
    —- Kasey Kahne (fifth) scored his 12th top-10 finish in 2004. It was his second top-five finish in two races at Atlanta.
    —- Matt Kenseth (41st) has ranked among the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Top 10 68 straight races. Kenseth moved into sole possession of 10th on NASCAR’s Top 10 list for consecutive races in the top-10 in the modern era (since 1972).(NASCAR Statistical Services)(10-31-2004)
  • Stock Car Fans – Rumblings – Atlanta: In an exciting finish today at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Jimmie Johnson beat the dominant car of Mark Martin and took the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 for his 7th victory of the season. In what had to be the most emotional and quietest Victory Lane we’ve ever seen, Johnson proved it doesn’t matter what’s under the hood if you’ve got 10 angels on the hood! Ending an emotional roller-coaster of a week with a cell call from the boss, Jimmie Johnson grabbed his third victory in a row and 13th of his career. He’s now in a three-way tie for 44th on the all-time list with Dick Rathman and Tim Richmond (another Hendrick driver). Win #129 for Hendrick Motorsports was worth $298,250 from the over $5.8M in posted awards.
    Carl Edwards (3rd) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 6th twice…at Fontana and at Richmond last month. His Top-5 gives us 31 drivers to score a T-5 this season….last year’s number was 30.
    Jeff Burton (6th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Bristol in August.
    Brian Vickers (7th) had his career-best finish today as well. His previous best was 8th at Richmond in May.
    Shane Hmiel (24th) tied his career-best finish today. He was also 24th at Kansas three races ago.
    J. J. Yeley (27th) had his career-best finish today….he was 41st at California in September in his only other Cup start.
    Kevin Lepage (28th) had his best finish since he was 28th at Darlington in March (only 11 races).
    STREAKIN….Jamie McMurray has 10 Top-10’s in the last 11 races.
    Joe Nemechek has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Ricky Rudd (+31), followed by Kasey Kahne (+27), Michael Waltrip (+26), Sterling Marlin (+22), and Jamie McMurray (+21).
    DOWN: The Big Dropper was Elliott Sadler (-33), followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr (-27), Kevin Harvick (-26), Jeff Gordon (-24), and Kurt Busch (-20). Both Rudd & Sadler make their first appearances at the top of their respective heaps this season….and notice that four of the five on the down side of the “Shaft” are “Chasers”.(StockCarFans.Com Nextelcup Newsletter)(10-31-2004)


    October 30, 2004

  • Where would McMurray be if……? #42-Jamie McMurray missed the Sept. 11 cut at Richmond by 15 points. Now the second guessing can really begin, because if NASCAR hadn’t fined McMurray 25 points for a car body that failed to meet templates at Bristol back in March, McMurray and crew chief Donnie Wingo would have made the cut and would be fourth in the chase, 128 points behind leader Kurt Busch and three points behind Dale Earnhardt Jr.(Winston Salem Journal)..before the Atlanta race.
    Post-Atlanta update: With another strong top-10 finish at Atlanta and, Jamie McMurray would now be 2nd in points, 48 points behind Kurt Busch in The Chase.(Motorsports One)(10-31-2004)
  • New Qualifying format in 2005? Bob Dilner reported on Speed Channel that qualifying in 2005 for the Cup Series could have a different look in 2005, with the top 35 teams [owners points? drivers points?] be assured to make the top 35 no matter how fast or slow they are. From 36 on back could not get the pole and would be set by speed. No word on if provisionals would still be used. This is supposedly one of a few scenarios NASCAR is thinking about regarding qualifying in 2005.(10-30-2004)
  • RC to announce most of 2005 plans at AMS UPDATE 3 Surprise…Burton to the #31: Richard Childress said he’ll lay out most of his 2005 season plans on Friday in a press conference in Atlanta, and yesterday he declined to confirm – but wouldn’t deny – widespread speculation that he would name Dave Blaney as his new driver, replacing Robby Gordon, and Jack Daniels as a new sponsor, replacing AOL. Childress also had little to say, either way, about rampant rumors he planned to swap crews among his teams [see below or my #30 Team page or #31 Team page for the past news/rumors/links]. “All those announcements are in the coming,” Childress said. Jack Daniels is owned by the Louisville, Ky., business Brown-Forman, which did $578 million in sales last year.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-25-2004)
    UPDATE: An announcement on who will be the driver of the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet in 2005 will be made this Friday, Oct. 29, at 2:00pm/et in the infield media center of Atlanta Motor Speedway.(RCR PR)(10-26-2004)
    UPDATE 2: the RCR press conference is now listed at 8:45am/et on Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Been told Blaney will be named driver, not sure if the ‘team swap’ will be announced or anything on the sponsor [AOL? Motorola? Jack Daniel’s]..yet.(10-28-2004)
    UPDATE 3, It’s Official Burton to the #31: Jeff Burton will finish the season behind the wheel of Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) #30 AOL Chevy and then move to its #31 Cingular Wireless team for the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season. Cingular Wireless has also extended it contract with RCR through 2007. The Atlanta-based telecommunications leader has sponsored the team since 2002. “I’m excited about driving for Cingular Wireless and continuing on with RCR,” Burton said. “In the short time I’ve driven for Richard, it’s already been proven that we can be successful. I’ve had a tremendous amount of fun and I am looking forward to greater things. It is my intention to get RCR and Cingular Wireless in position to contend for a championship. Cingular Wireless is a household name and it’s an honor to represent a company that has such a quality product and is so supportive of motorsports.” Burton will replace Robby Gordon in the #31 Chevrolet. It was announced earlier this week that Gordon and RCR were parting ways at the end of the season, with Gordon stepping up to the ranks of NASCAR Cup Series ownership in 2005. RCR will announce the remainder of its 2005 plans in upcoming weeks [like the #30 team, driver and sponsor](RCR Site)(10-30-2004)
  • Hendrick Motorsports update: Ken Howes, Hendrick Motorsports’ director of competition, played a major role in “talking the team through” the aftermath of the plane crash that killed seven employees of the team on Oct. 24. “He just took responsibility for taking us through that,” said Jimmie Johnson. A team spokesman, Patrick Perkins, said that Bobby Rice, a close business associate of Rick Hendrick, would oversee the operation for the time being while Hendrick recovers from the loss of his brother John, son Ricky and nieces Kymberly and Jennifer. Also lost in the crash were general manager Jeff Turner and head engine builder Randy Dorton. Jeff Gordon’s stepfather, John Bickford, will take on a more prominent role in the business side, and controller Scott Lampey will oversee financial operations. Jeff Andrews and Jim Wall will combine in directing the engine department.(Gaston Gazette)(10-30-2004)
  • Martin finished 5th in ASA race: Mark Martin, a former ASA champion making his first series start since 1996, had to start in the rear because qualifying was rained out and the race was started by owner points. But he raced his way to the front of the pack and ran as high as third late in the 150 and finished 5th in the World Financial Group. 150 ASA race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday. Mike Garvey [who has made a few Cup attempts this year] overcame an early flat to win the race. Former CTS driver, Bryan Reffner finished second ahead of Butch Miller, Wade Day and Mark Martin. Defending series champion Kevin Cywinski finished ninth and claimed his third title by 10 points over Reffner.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution), there was NO TV coverage, also see more about the race at 51sportsracing.com.(10-30-2004)
  • Top 10 NASCAR Drivers from the Fox Sports Net show, Sports List:
    10: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    9: Sterling Marlin
    8: Tony Stewart
    7: Mark Martin
    6: Dale Jarrett
    5: Darrell Waltrip
    4: Rusty Wallace
    3: Jeff Gordon
    2: Richard Petty
    1: Dale Earnhardt.(10-30-2004)
  • PowerAde and Coca-Cola leaving NASCAR? NASCAR sources indicate that Coca-Cola / PowerAde may drop its NASCAR sponsorship at the end of the season. NASCAR signed PowerAde to a victory-lane sponsorship that has proven too hot to handle, according to NASCAR sources, who said the brand would like to get out of NASCAR because of the disputes and because business hasn’t been that good lately.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-30-2004)
  • Petty to be honored: Seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty will receive the Lombardi Symbol of Courage Award Saturday night in Washington. He will be honored at the 19th annual Lombardi Gala to benefit cancer research at Georgetown University Medical Center’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-30-2004)
  • More on the RCR announcement; Burton to the #31? Jack Daniels to BDR? Robby Gordon? Richard Childress has a news conference set for this morning to announce that Jeff Burton will drive his #31 Cingular-sponsored cars next season, taking Robby Gordon’s place. It is unclear what Burton’s crew might look like; there has been speculation Childress has a major crew swap in the works. But in a major twist, it appears Childress doesn’t have Jack Daniels locked up as a sponsor for his third team. It was expected he would also announce that sponsor today along with driver Dave Blaney for his third team, the one for whom Burton drives. But the Jack Daniels sponsorship is still in play, according to team sources, with both car owners Bill Davis and Robby Gordon in the running. As of Thursday, a Jack Daniels deal hadn’t been signed by any party. There are major questions now being raised about the American On Line sponsorship that Childress has had the past two years. If Childress dumps AOL and if NASCAR executives are unable to keep the Time-Warner division sponsorship in play, it would be a major blow to the sport. Time-Warner is a company with a $76 billion capitalization.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-30-2004)


    October 29, 2004

  • NASCAR movie to be released in Feb ’05? hearing that the NASCAR on IMAX movie will be released in Video/DVD in conjunction with the start of the 2005 NASCAR season next February.(10-29-2004)
  • UPDATE II on driver injured at LMS: Jimmy Weller III, injured in a USAC sprint car event at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Wednesday night, Oct. 13, remains in the Intensive Care Unit of Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, but his condition continues to improve. Weller, 18, of Liberty, Ohio, suffered severe head trauma in the accident along with two cracked vertebrae. He underwent successful surgery on Thursday, Oct. 28, to repair the damaged vertebrae. The ventilator, which was assisting Weller’s breathing, has been removed and he is now breathing on his own. According to family members, Weller is beginning to talk and has been moving his arms and legs.(LMS PR)(10-29-2004)
  • Final Martinsville TV Ratings up 10%: NBC’s broadcast of last Sunday’s Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway drew a 4.4 final rating and a 10 share from Nielsen Media Resarch, the Sports Business Daily reports. The figures represent a 10 percent increase from last year’s 4.0/10 and is even with the same race in 2002. NBC’s four Chase For The Nextel Cup races are averaging a 4.7/10, up 4 percent from a 4.5/9 for the same four races last year, the Daily says.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(10-26-2004)
  • Andretti, A.J. Foyt and the #14? looks like he new #14 ppc Racing team is listed as being owned by A.J. Foyt, who ran the #14 for a few races in 2004 after running it fulltime for a few years. Driver John Andretti asked Foyt, his Godfather, if the team could use the number and got permission as Foyt had no plans to run any more races in 2004. So Andretti can use a provisional, but the #14 is 52nd in Owners Points standings and with 59 teams/drivers/cars in the Atlanta Entry list, it is unlikely the provisionals will fall that far down the list.(10-29-2004)
  • Four drivers go for IROC Title: Four Nextel Cup championship contenders will have a little something extra on their minds Saturday. The final IROC race of the season will end with the series champion winning $1 million. Ryan Newman currently leads the points, just four ahead of fellow Chase of the Championship contenders Matt Kenseth and Johnson. Busch is 11 points back. Kevin Harvick is out of the running for the inaugural Nextel Cup, but is just seven points out of the IROC lead. Of the remaining seven drivers in the IROC series, only World of Outlaws driver Danny Lasoski is within striking distance of Newman at 13 back. Saturday’s race begins at approximately 3:45pm/et, assuming the Busch Series race is completed on time. The race will be shown on tape delay on Speed Channel at 8:00pm/et.(Macon Telegraph), note, race results will be posted on my 2004 IROC Page once found and more info on the series at the irocracing.com.(10-29-2004)
  • Dale Jr. takes crew and Wrangler for a ride: On Tuesday night, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was the “chauffeur” at Lowe’s Motor Speedway as members of his crew, five grand-prize contest winners from the “Wrangler Take a Test Drive” promotion, top-executives from Wrangler and members of their Public Relations and Marketing firms got the thrill of a lifetime. Also helping out with driving duties was Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #8 Chance 2 Motorsports. By season’s end, Martin will have carried the Wrangler name on his car twice. From VF Corporation, parent company of Wrangler, was Mackey McDonald, President, CEO and Chairman. Joining him were John Schamberger, VP and Chairman, Cross Coalition Management of Retail Partnerships and Terry Lay, Executive VP and Chairman of Global Jeanswear Coalition for VF Corporation. “We had a tremendous response to our new Wrangler Jeans Co. ad campaign that features Dale Jr., but we wanted to do something above and beyond just the campaign – – something that would really bring the Wrangler-Earnhardt partnership to life,” said Craig Errington, Director of Marketing Communications of VF Jeanswear -Mass Market brands. “Our ‘Take a Test Drive With Dale Jr.’ national promotion allowed us to do that. We wanted to highlight our relationship with Dale Jr. by offering this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Our five national sweepstakes winners got that chance when they climbed in the seat next to Dale Jr. and flew around Lowe’s Motor Speedway at 185 mph.” Tony Eury, Jr. is the car chief for Dale Jr. and has set-up many a race car in his tenure at Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Instead of hearing how the car handled, he got to experience it real time. “That was the first time I’ve ridden around a track of that size with Dale Jr.” Tony Jr. said. “He wanted me to get the feel of just how rough the surface is at Charlotte with the bumps and all. It was pretty cool to feel all that stuff with the way he drives. I’ll understand him a bit better the next time he describes something to me. It was cool; he took me right up against the wall. He did a fast lap, just like he’s supposed to.” (Laughs) For some of the crew members, this was their first experience ever riding around a race track. Such was the case for Troy Prince, rear-tire carrier for the No. 8 Chevrolet of Dale Jr. when he rode with Martin. “It was weird,” Troy said. “First off, you’re on the wrong side of the car riding in the passenger seat while Martin drives. You’re mind is telling you ‘No, No, No, this car won’t make it through the turns’ and you want to abort.“ Joining in the fun were correspondents from TV shows Totally NASCAR, TV Guide Channel, Entertainment Tonight and the Tony Danza Show.(DEI Site)(10-29-2004)
  • Atlanta Qualifying Notes: Ryan Newman won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Bud Pole for the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500, lapping Atlanta Motor Speedway in 28.939 seconds at 191.575 mph. Geoffrey Bodine holds the track-qualifying record of 28.074 seconds, 197.478 mph, set Nov. 15, 1997 in the first qualifying session on the 1.54-mile configuration.
    * This is Newman’s 26th career Bud Pole in 113 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races. His most recent Bud Pole came at Martinsville, one race ago. Newman moved into a tie with Bobby Labonte for 24th on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup all-time Bud Pole winner list.
    * It is Newman’s eighth Bud Pole and 23rd top-10 start in 2004, both more than any other driver. • It is Newman’s fourth consecutive Bud Pole and his fifth front row start in six races at Atlanta. He started second in his first attempt at Atlanta in March 2002 and sixth in the fall that year. Prior to Newman, the most recent driver to post four consecutive Bud Poles at any track was Mark Martin at Bristol (1995-1996).
    * There have been 11 different Bud Pole winners in 2004. Ryan Newman (eight), Jeff Gordon (six), Kasey Kahne (four), Casey Mears (two), Brian Vickers (two), Jeremy Mayfield (two) and Joe Nemechek (two) are the drivers with more than one Bud Pole this season.
    * This is the third quickest Bud Pole speed of the season. Only Bobby Labonte (Texas, 193.903 mph) and Newman (first Atlanta, 193.375 mph) have posted faster Bud Pole speeds in 2004.
    * Joe Nemechek had the second-fastest time with a qualifying lap of 28.978 seconds at 191.318 mph and will join Newman on the front row. It is his 16th top-10 start in 2004, including four of the past five races. It is his eighth top-10 start in his 22 races at Atlanta.
    * This is the 16th Bud Pole for Dodge in 2004. Chevrolet has 12 Bud Poles and Ford has two. Qualifying was canceled at Watkins Glen, second Michigan and second New Hampshire.
    * Elliott Sadler (third) posted his 17th top-10 start in 2004 and his fourth in 12 races at Atlanta, all in the past four races.
    * Carl Edwards (fourth) posted the first top-10 qualifying effort of his 10-race NASCAR NEXTEL Cup career. His previous best start was 13th at Richmond in September. Edwards has posted three top-10 finishes in his nine races.
    * Greg Biffle (fifth) posted his 16th top-10 start in 2004 and his first in four races at Atlanta.
    * Martin Truex Jr. (33rd) qualified for his first career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race.
    * Six of the 10 drivers involved in The Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup qualified in the top-10: Newman (first), Sadler (third), Dale Earnhardt Jr., (sixth), Mark Martin (seventh), Jimmie Johnson (eighth) and Jeff Gordon (10th). * Matt Kenseth, Michael Waltrip, Sterling Marlin, Terry Labonte and Ricky Rudd used provisionals to complete the 43-car field. Rudd came within one position of having his all-time streak of consecutive starts ended by a DNQ. Fifteen drivers failed to qualify for the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500: Scott Riggs, Scott Wimmer, Kerry Earnhardt, Johnny Sauter, Hermie Sadler, Hermie Sadler, Mike Wallace, Derrike Cope, Randy Lajoie, Greg Sacks, Larry Foyt, Kirk Shelmerdine, Morgan Shepherd, Andy Belmont, Larry Hollenbeck and Kenny Wallace.
    * The 58 drivers that attempted to qualify for the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 was the most since 59 drivers made qualifying attempts for the 1999 Daytona 500.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(10-29-2004)
  • StockCarFans.com (Nextel Cup) Newsletter – Ramblings – Atlanta: Another Friday, another Pole…..things are really hum-drum in the world of Ryan Newman. Newman took his 3rd Bud Pole in a row (and 26th of his career) tonight at Atlanta Motor Speedway for Sunday’s Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500….and it was his 4th consecutive at AMS to boot! This is the 8th top-spot of the season for the Rocket, and he’ll be joined on the front row by Joe Nemechek. Gonna be a hard weekend to get through….but racers do what they hafta do. You don’t forget, but you pick up the pieces and you go on…..
    Elliott Sadler (3rd) has his best starting spot since he was 3rd at The Brickyard in August.
    Carl Edwards (4th) has his career-best starting spot for Sunday’s race. His previous best was 13th at Richmond in September.
    Greg Biffle (5th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 5th at Chicagoland in July.
    Mark Martin (7th) has his best starting spot since he qualified on the outside pole at Richmond in September.
    Robby Gordon (14th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 5th at Michigan in June.
    John Andretti (17th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 11th when we were here last October. (only 10 races)
    Kyle Petty (18th) has his best starting spot since he started 10th at Richmond in September of 2003!
    Kevin Lepage (23rd) has his best starting spot since he lined up 22nd at Lowe’s in May. (only 9 races)
    Welcome (well, sort of) to Martin Truex, Jr (33rd). This will be his first Nextel Cup start, but he did fill in for Dale Earnhardt Jr at NHIS earlier in the year.
    STREAKIN….Ryan Newman has 7 Top-10 starts in the last 8 races.
    Joe Nemechek has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
    Dale Earnhardt Jr has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.(StockCarFans.Com)(10-29-2004)
  • ASA at Atlanta: Word circulating around the garage in Atlanta on Thursday is that ASA President Steve Dale has made good on the Lowe’s Motor Speedway purse and recovered his equipment which was confiscated by track officials at Lowe’s Motor Speedway two weeks ago.(10-29-2004)


    October 28, 2004

  • A Craven Update: The wait continues for Newburgh [ME] native and former NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Ricky Craven, who parted ways with the PPI Motorsports and the Tide No. 32 Chevy team in August after 3 1/2 seasons. He said he has had discussions with Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck series teams, but that’s as far as things have progressed. “There will be an opportunity but it hasn’t materialized yet,” said the 38-year-old Craven. “I’m optimistic because I understand the business and it has always been that things happen when you least expect it. There will be an opportunity around the corner.” Craven reiterated that he wants to drive full time for a competitive Nextel Cup team next season. And he didn’t rule out another single-car team if it’s a “solid program. I’m not limiting my opportunities to just a multi-car team. He also hasn’t ruled out driving for a Busch or Craftsman Truck series team. “If I felt like that would somehow lead me back to [landing] a competitive Nextel Cup ride, sooner than later, I would take it,” said Craven. “There’s one out there right now that has interested me. It has a lot of potential.” He wouldn’t specify whether it was a Busch or Craftsman Truck series ride. There has been speculation about Craven replacing Robby Gordon in the #31 car for Richard Childress Racing. Gordon announced Tuesday that he’s starting his own team next season. But Craven said, “I haven’t talked to Richard about driving for him.” Dave Blaney is a leading candidate to be Gordon’s replacement.(Bangor Daily News – need to register)(10-28-2004)
  • Robby Gordon will NOT be back with RCR in 2005 UPDATE 2 pushed back to Saturday, Blaney: #31-Robby Gordon has confirmed that he and car owner Richard Childress will split at the end of 2004. Gordon told PRN’s Garagepass, “The process is we’ve made the determination that our Busch car runs so competitive every weekend that we’re gonna go ahead and make the step and move that to a Nextel Cup car in 2005. Obviously we’ll have other announcements in the near future but our plan is to take our exisiting Busch car and roll that up to a cup program.” When asked…so you won’t be with RCR next year? Gordon said, “that’s what it sounds like right now, so that looks like our direction…looks like the direction we’re trying to head.”(PRN’s Garagepass Radio show)(10-22-2004)
    UPDATE it’s official: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and Robby Gordon will part ways at the conclusion of the 2004 season, with Gordon stepping up to the ranks of NASCAR Cup Series ownership in 2005. “Several months ago Robby told me that his goals included running his own NASCAR Cup Series team,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “He has won three points races, a qualifying race at Daytona and has had a lot of good runs for RCR since 2001, but sometimes change is good. Robby is a true racer and I will always be grateful to him for what we’ve been able to accomplish together and for the positive things he brought to our organization. I’ve always said that Robby is one of the most talented drivers out there and he has always gone above and beyond for our sponsors. I’m sure Robby will do just fine on his own. His Busch cars run good every week and I’m sure he can translate some of that success to the Cup Series. I wish him only the best.”
    “Driving for RCR has been an incredible honor and is an opportunity most drivers could only wish for,” Gordon said. “I’ve learned as much outside the car as I have in it with RCR, and Richard has taught me a great deal about the business of NASCAR. He’s a man of his word and someone I will always respect immensely. But I think everyone knows what my long-term goals are, both as a driver and a car owner, and now is the time for me to start my future as an owner at NASCAR’s highest level. If I can be half as successful as Richard has been, I’ll be very happy. We have been putting the pieces in place for our own team for most of the past year, and although we don’t have anything to announce yet for next season, we hope to make some announcements soon.”
    “Cingular Wireless is glad to have had Robby Gordon behind the wheel of the #31 Chevrolet for the past three seasons,” said Daryl Evans, Vice President of Advertising and Marketing Communications for Cingular Wireless. “He and the RCR team were able to take Cingular to the winner’s circle three times last year and we know we still have a great shot at getting back there before the conclusion of the 2004 season. Robby is a very talented driver and we wish him continued success in the future.”
    An announcement on who will be the driver of the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet in 2005 will be made this Friday, Oct. 29, at 2:00pm/et in the infield media center of Atlanta Motor Speedway.(RCR PR)(10-26-2004)
    AND Meanwhile, the business of NASCAR went on yesterday, when car owner Richard Childress made official what has been long expected, that he and driver Robby Gordon will be splitting at the end of the season after a three-year run. Gordon says that he wants to run his own Nextel Cup team. Dave Blaney is expected to be named his replacement on Friday.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-27-2004)
    UPDATE 2: the RCR press conference is now listed at 8:45am/et on Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Been told Blaney will be named driver, not sure if the ‘team swap’ will be announced or anything on the sponsor [AOL? Motorola? Jack Daniel’s]..yet.(10-28-2004)
  • ESPN/ABC….NASCAR on Wish List: Wishes sometimes do come true, and at the top of ESPN/ABC Sports President George Bodenheimer’s wish list is NASCAR. Participating in a roundtable on the future of sports TV that ESPN/ABC Sports hosted Wednesday for about 1,000 ad buyers, sports TV executives were asked by moderator Robin Roberts what events they would like to have. After Bodenheimer drew laughter for responding, “We want it all,” he said, “I would like to get NASCAR.” He added he also would be interested in The Masters. With CBS and cable’s USA Network entrenched in long-running one-year deals with The Masters, Bodenheimer’s second wish might be just wishful thinking. But NASCAR is different. ABC/ESPN were left with NASCAR memories when Fox and NBC/TNT quadrupled the stock car racing circuit’s rights fees to $400 million a year starting in 2001— Fox for eight years and NBC/TNT for six. Ratings for NASCAR have soared in the last four years, making the racing circuit the second-highest-rated sport to the NFL. Despite the ratings, the high rights fees have hampered Fox’s and NBC/TNT’s ability to make a profit. With ESPN/ABC missing NASCAR, the Disney networks can be expected to follow Bodenheimer’s wish and compete with NBC/TNT for the rights in the future.(in part from a Rudy Martzke on USA Today)(10-28-2004)
  • Spencer Released from #4 Ride UPDATE 2 Wallace in at Atlanta: Morgan McClure Motorsports announced today the release of driver Jimmy Spencer, effective immediately. He began driving for the team earlier this year at the Samsung Radio Shack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. “Over the past several weeks there has been a steady and gradual improvement in the Morgan McClure racecar and Spencer has been an integral part of this drive for success. While his part has been greatly appreciated by everyone here at Morgan McClure Motorsports, it has been decided, by mutual agreement, that it would be beneficial to both the team and to Jimmy Spencer to release him so that he may pursue other driving opportunities within the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series,” Larry McClure, team owner, stated. An announcement for his replacement in the #4 Chevrolet will be made before the BASS PRO SHOPS MBNA 500 race in Atlanta, Georgia this weekend.(Morgan McClure Motorsports PR)(10-27-2004)
    UPDATE: hearing Mike Wallace will be the driver of the #4 Morgan-McClure Chevy at Atlanta.(10-28-2004)
    UPDATE 2: Morgan-McClure Motorsports announces Mike Wallace will drive the #4 Lucas Oil Chevrolet in the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 race in Atlanta this weekend. Wallace, a St. Louis, Mo.-native, has 149 starts in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series with two top-fives and 12 top-10 finishes. In 221 NASCAR Busch Series starts, Wallace has four wins, 17 top-fives and 47 top-10s. Having shown much success in the NASCAR Truck Series, he has 101 starts resulting in four wins, 31 top-fives, 52 top-10s and three pole positions.(Morgan McClure Motorsports PR)(10-28-2004)
  • Bickford could had been on the Hendrick Plane too: If not for a lingering cold, John Bickford, Jeff Gordon’s stepfather, might have been on the ill-fated Hendrick Motorsports plane Sunday that crashed near Martinsville, Va., killing all 10 passengers. In an interview Thursday, Bickford, Gordon’s business manager, was talking about some of the benefits of working in the Hendrick complex. His office is in the building that houses Gordon’s race team, which is owned by Rick Hendrick. “I get to a few more races [now],” Bickford said. “I get to ride on the Hendrick team plane. I have a little easier access to the races. When his mom and I would want to go [in years past] we’d have to buy airplane tickets or drive; it’s a little bit more money than we could afford to spend every weekend. “So by being a part of the Hendrick organization, there’s a seat there that I can jump in and a lot of times I get to go in on Sunday morning. I can fly in on Sunday morning and watch the race and say hi to Jeff and be there to support him. I think there’s a certain comfort level that he has knowing that the people that he’s close to are close by.” On Sunday, Bickford was feeling poorly and stayed home to watch the race on TV.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(10-28-2004)
  • Sad News: Jerry Howard, the “Voice of Greenville Pickens Speedway” and a long-time disc jockey at WESC-FM, died Wednesday at his home in Greenville. Howard, who was 65, had fought a seven-month battle with cancer, his wife Teresa Howard said. Howard worked off and on at WESC for around four decades and spent 10 years with Greenville-Pickens Speedway, Teresa Howard said. Tom Blackwell, a former owner and current general manager at Greenville-Pickens Speedway, said, “He’ll really be missed at the race track. All the regular fans know Jerry Howard.” Keith Cochran, marketing director at Greenville-Pickens Speedway, described Howard’s announcing style as folksy but supported by a wealth of racing knowledge. Howard always came prepared to the races and had an important skill for announcers in any sport: knowing when to say something and when to let the action speak for itself. Howard recently was selected one of the top play-by-play announcers at short tracks in the nation, Cochran said. “It takes somebody who knows the sport, and he got to know the drivers. He worked the Shrine race on Sept. 18, but he was really sick by then,” Blackwell said. “It took everything he had to do it, but he was determined,” Mrs. Howard said of that last race her husband worked at Greenville-Pickens. Howard attended Northgate Baptist Church. He also is survived by two daughters, Joni Howard and Chrissie Hildebrand, and a grandson, Aedan Humphreys. Memorial service arrangements are incomplete.(Greensville News)(10-28-2004)
  • Gillette Young Guns – Weekly Update: By picking Jimmie Johnson as the top Gillette Young Gun finisher in the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 24th, Skip D. of Bradenton, FL was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Skip picked Johnson as the highest finishing Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline. As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Johnson. This is the 10th time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Johnson.
    The Gillette Young Guns are 18 for 32 in the win column so far in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Jimmie Johnson now has six victories, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has five victories, followed by Kurt Busch with three victories, and Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman, who each have two victories. Through the 32nd race of the season, Busch now leads the NEXTEL Cup point standings over second-place Jeff Gordon by 96 points. Four other Gillette Young Guns are also in the top-10 and rank as follows – Earnhardt Jr. (Third), Johnson (Fourth), Kenseth (Eighth) and Newman (Ninth). Kevin Harvick, who is not in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup, is currently in the 13th position in the standings.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(10-28-2004)
  • Smirnoff Ice to the #97 in 2005 UPDATE why leaving #17?: been told that Smirnoff Ice will be the primary sponsor for eight races on the #97 Roush Racing Ford and driver Kurt Busch in 2005, moving over from the #17 Ford of Matt Kenseth. See an image of the car on the 2005 #97 Paint Schemes page.(10-25-2004)
    MORE: The #97 Sharpie/IRWIN race team has a new, powerhouse partner. Diageo, the $16 billion spirits maker best known for its Smirnoff and Crown Royal brands, has announced it has struck a deal with Newell Rubbermaid to sponsor the company’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver Kurt Busch and the #97 car for eight races over the next two years. The addition of a new team sponsor opens the door to a number of opportunities for Newell Rubbermaid’s IRWIN and Sharpie brands including incremental high-profile exposure. Kicking off this program November 14 at Darlington Motor Speedway, the #97 car will feature a special Smirnoff ICE paint scheme, flanked by the Sharpie brand. The remaining seven Diageo races are planned for the 2005 and 2006 NEXTEL Cup Series schedule.(10-26-2004)
    UPDATE: Smirnoff will move from Matt Kenseth’s car to Kurt Busch’s car effective in November at Darlington Raceway. The deal simply shifts Smirnoff off Kenseth’s car since DeWalt, which “owns” the #17 financially, has found a new partner in USG products. The more natural pairing of a construction materials maker, USG, with toolmaker DeWalt should work well.(Team Ford Racing)(10-28-2004)


    October 27, 2004

  • Jason rooting for Ricky: One lucky fan will win a million dollars this weekend if Ricky Rudd goes to Victory Lane at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Rudd’s #21 Wood Brothers Racing Taurus will run the Rent-A-Center colors on Sunday, and the associate sponsor has posted a $1 million dollar payout if Rudd wins the race. Jason Sigmon of Alpharetta, Ga., won a drawing from entries collected from Rent-A-Center locations in the Atlanta area.(Team Ford Racing)(10-27-2004)
  • This Should go over well – Trade in your Confederate flag for a new USA one, FREE: The National Association of Minority Race Fans says it will approach NASCAR fans at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend and ask them to exchange their Confederate flags for a new American flag, a NASCAR flag or a flag for selected drivers. “Since NASCAR won’t take the flags down, NAMRF will do it for them,” said Steve Parker, director of operations for the group that says it believes NASCAR tracks provide unsafe environments for women and minorities who are racing fans. NAMRF’s statement also said it plans to hold another protest at the Atlanta track, anticipating more than 100 picketers. The group did stage a demonstration at Charlotte two weeks ago, but issued a statement Sunday saying its protest at Martinsville was canceled because of poor weather. In the statement announcing the flag exchange program, however, NAMRF now says it “first delayed its 50-member demonstration because of weather concerns, and then ultimately canceled it in light of the tragic news surrounding Hendrick Motorsports.” NAMRF officials suggested that NASCAR institute a flag-exchange program as a “first step” toward such improvements, but says it has received no response. “NASCAR can ignore it if it wants, but the Confederate flag is a sign of hatred, not heritage,” Parker said. “The first step in making NASCAR races more attractive is making those distasteful, disgusting flags disappear.”(ThatsRacin.com)(10-27-2004)
  • Martinsville Performance Gives Harvick’s Pit Crew First Win of Season: The pit crew for Kevin Harvick scored its first victory in the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade by taking top honors in Sunday’s Nextel Cup race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. The No. 29 crew earned $20,000 for the win. With four races remaining, only 13 points separate the top three crews in the McDonald’s/POWERade standings. Elliott Sadler’s crew leads with 1140 points. Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew is second with 1129 and Kurt Busch’s crew is third with 1127. The championship pit crew will earn a $200,000 bonus. Harvick’s GM Goodwrench Chevrolet spent the least amount of time on Martinsville’s pit road with a time of 323.762 seconds. Jeff Burton’s AOL Chevy was second at 340.342 and Busch’s IRWIN Ford was third at 349.652. “Kevin does everything he can on the track so we have to do everything we can for him when he comes into the pits,” said Todd Berrier, crew chief for the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet team. “Track position is critical at Martinsville because of how difficult it is to pass so winning the McDonald’s/POWERade award there shows how good our Goodwrench crew is. All the pit stop practice and time in the weight room the guys do at the shop during the week really pay off.” Harvick’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Mike Scearce (jackman), Brian Englehart (gasman), Scott Naset (catch can), Jason Pulver (front-tire changer), Josh Mick (front-tire carrier), Clint Pittman (rear tire changer) and Kenny Barber (rear-tire carrier).(DMF Comminications), for the top-10 and seasonso standings, see my Pit Crew News page.(10-27-2004)
  • Rusty clarifies airport comments: Rusty responds to comments made on Sunday regarding the Martinsville and Talladega airports: “My intentions certainly weren’t to infuriate the folks running the local airports at Martinsville and at Talladega and I definitely didn’t mean for it to sound as if I was putting any direct blame on anyone,” Wallace said on Tuesday evening. “But when you have just found out that you lost some great friends in an accident like that and they stick a camera and microphone in your face, you certainly should understand the emotion I had building up inside when I made those comments. What I was attempting to do was point out that we have several airports where we fly in that desperately need upgrading.”(much more on this in release at Tom Roberts PR)(10-27-2004)
  • Elliott back at Atlanta: The last time Bill Elliott was at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) for a NASCAR Nextel Cup race he was perched in the media complex serving as a radio commentator. That was back in March when the Dawsonville, Ga. native snapped a driving streak of 49 consecutive Cup races at the track he calls home. Elliott, who is running a limited schedule in 2004, returns to AMS this weekend in a more comfortable surrounding as the driver of the #98 McDonald’s Dodge, operated by Bill Elliott Racing with support from Evernham Motorsports. Elliott finished fourth in his last outing at AMS in October, 2003. Elliott’s appearance in Sunday’s Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 will be his sixth Cup race of the season and the second with the Golden Arch sponsorship. His most recent Cup race was in the McDonald’s car in September at California Speedway where he qualified third and finished 25th. Along with the Southern California race in Fontana, Elliott’s other Cup races this season were at Las Vegas, Texas, Daytona (July) and Indianapolis. His best finish was ninth at Indy’s Brickyard 400.(DMF Communications PR)(10-27-2004)
  • Rusty talks about altercation with Newman: Rusty gives update concerning Sunday’s altercation with teammate Ryan Newman: “It’s an issue that I’m sure we will work out internally, but as of now (late Tuesday afternoon) I haven’t had the opportunity to discuss it with Ryan personally,” Wallace said just before boarding his plane after a sponsor appearance in Farmingdale, N.Y. “We’ll learn from this and work a lot closer in the future – and the future begins in this weekend’s race at Atlanta.”(more on this in release at Tom Roberts PR)(10-27-2004)
  • Kerry Earnhardt back in the #33 at Atlanta: Kerry Earnhardt will drive the #33 Bass Pro Shops Chevy at Atlanta Motor Speedway for Richard Childress Racing. This is the same car Kevin Harvick raced last spring at AMS. Earnhardt tested at AMS Tuesday, Oct. 19 and Wednesday, Oct. 20 in preparation for the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500. Bobby Hutchens and Bobby Leslie will serve as co-crew chiefs of Earnhardt’s #33 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet this weekend. Former crew chief Gil Martin has taken over the reigns of the #2 ACDelco Busch Series entry replacing Butch Hylton. Martin will continue in that role with driver Clint Bowyer in 2005. Earnhardt will sport a special paint scheme this weekend highlighting Bass Pro Shops’ support of the National Wild Turkey Federation. The #33 also showcased the NWTF during the NEXTEL Open at Charlotte. Earnhardt won the 2001 Pork the Other White Meat 400 ARCA Re/Max Series race at AMS. Additionally, he made one other ARCA start at the Hampton, Ga., track (11/18/00), where he finished sixth. In addition to his driving duties with RCR, Earnhardt has been wheeling the #20 NAPA Chevrolet for Bill McAnally Racing (BMR) in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series. In eight starts for BMR, Earnhardt boasts two top-five and four top-10 finishes. In just eight West Series races with BMR on a 13 race tour, Earnhardt finished 18th in the final championship standings.(RCR PR)(10-27-2004)
  • Retro Look back for Riggs: Scott Riggs will pilot the same specially designed Valvoline Chevrolet in this weekend’s Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway as he did two weeks ago in Charlotte. This time, however, he hopes it will produce a different result. While Riggs qualified fourth for the Charlotte Nextel Cup race, a first-lap glitch cost him the chance to capitalize on the starting spot, and the Team Owners Select Chevrolet retired from the event after just 30 laps. As part of a special Valvoline promotion, the decidedly popular design was chosen by thousands of Valvoline team “owners” in a recent vote to decide which scheme would be driven in Charlotte. After its short life on the track, Riggs and the Valvoline team decided to give the car another shot, this time at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Valvoline is the only consumer products company to own a NASCAR team. The Owners Program is one way Valvoline brings fans closer to their favorite sport in a way no other team can. There are nearly 5,000 Valvoline owners who have signed up for the program that gives them souvenir pieces of the racecar, invitations to special events, letters from Riggs, chances to win racing merchandise — and the opportunity to vote on special paint schemes.(DMF Communications PR), See an image of the car on my #10 Team Schemes page or 2004 Cup Schemes page.(10-27-2004)

    (10-27-2004)

  • Dale Jr. fan takes it up a notch: NASCAR knew Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans would be upset by the 25 point penalty levied against him for cursing, and one has even started his own protest. Steve Robyor, a 44-year-old Boca Raton, Fla., has made T-shirts displaying the same phrase Earnhardt Jr. used when he cursed in his Victory Lane interview at Talladega last month. Robyor is encouraging all Earnhardt Jr. fans to wear his T-shirts as a sign of support for Earnhardt Jr. over the final four races of the season. He’s also hopeful that the shirts might send a message to NASCAR to stop taking points for non-racing related infractions. For the link to the site, see my Collectible/Apparel links page.(AP Report) Would be nice if the shirts were sold and the proceeds donated to charity.(10-27-2004)
  • SMI Named in Forbes List: Speedway Motorsports, Inc., a leading marketer and promoter of motorsports entertainment in the United States, is among the 200 Best Small Companies in America according to an annual ranking by Forbes magazine. The annual feature, which appears in the Nov. 1 issue of the prestigious magazine, includes companies with revenues from $5 million to $750 million (small by Forbes standards), net profits greater than 5 percent and share prices above $5 as of Oct. 1. Speedway Motorsports became the first company in motorsports history to go public on the New York Stock Exchange in 1995. In addition, the Company announced it has completed the exchange of all outstanding unregistered 6¾% Senior Subordinated Notes due 2013, that were issued in a private transaction on July 7, for new registered 6¾% Senior Subordinated Notes due 2013.(LMS PR)(10-27-2004)
  • New NASCAR Team? not quite sure what this is about, but the site shows the #05 car and listed veteran driver, Rich Bickle as the team driver: The VFW Department of North Carolina and Veterans Racing, Inc. are joining forces and using the Veterans Racing NASCAR race teams to energize a recruiting blitz of the past and present eligible military personnel to join the prestigious ranks of the VFW, which they have earned through their service. The blitz will include merchandise to be sold in the 9,700 plus VFW Posts, on the website and in various retail outlets, at the tracks in both NEXTEL Cup and the Busch Series for selected races during the remaining of the 2004 season and then into the 2005 NEXTEL Cup season. The team will be taking cars, crew and VFW personnel to various military bases for direct recruiting purposes. VFW members, military members, NASCAR fans and their family and friends are asked to support all other sponsors of this race team, because they are helping make this happen. See more at veteransracing.com (10-27-2004)
  • Earnhardt #16: Forbe’s List – Dead Celebrities – The Top Earners For 2004, Dale Earnhardt is listed s #16 of 20 on the list. The excerpt – NASCAR’s merchandise sales hit $2 billion in the last year, and in large part the sport has Dale Earnhardt Sr. to thank for that. Earnhardt is credited with having elevated racing from cult status to nationwide craze, and even in death he remains one of the sport’s three most popular drivers, along with son Dale Jr. His estate’s income, though significant, hasn’t had the same staying power. Still, the teams that bear the name of the seven-time Winston Cup champion remain winners on the track; last year the three teams racing for Dale Earnhardt Inc. had over $15 million in winnings.(Forbes)(10-27-2004)
  • Junie tours Daytona renovations; unsure of team plans: Legendary NASCAR NEXTEL Cup team owner Junie Donlavey made a surprise visit to historic Daytona International Speedway on Tuesday and took a tour of the infield renovation site with Speedway President Robin Braig. Donlavey toured the multi-million dollar, multi-faceted infield renovation site that includes a new state-of-the-art tunnel, waterfront specialty vehicle parking, new NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series garages, new Gatorade Victory Lane and a uniquely-designed Fan Zone with prime viewing of the garages and inspection bays.
    “Nobody will ever believe what you’re doing here,” Donlavey said. “This is unbelievable because it’s laid out so good and it’s for the benefit of the fans and car owners and crews. It’s perfect. You had somebody with a lot of knowledge to be able to layout something like this.” Donlavey, who still enters a car in races from time to time, has one NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series victory to his credit with driver Jody Ridley back in 1981 at Dover, Del. At Daytona International Speedway, Donlavey won three consecutive Hershey’s 300s between 1972-74 with driver Bill Dennis and captured a Gatorade 125-mile qualifier with Schrader in 1987. Standing inside the new NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series garages, Donlavey said he was unsure if he will attempt to qualify a car in next year’s Daytona 500. But after touring the new Daytona infield, he says he’ll definitely consider it. “I hadn’t thought much about it, but I’m hoping that we can get something together and do it,” Donlavey said Race fans hoping to catch a glimpse of the massive construction project can visit DAYTONA USA and take the Speedway Tour, which costs $7.50 plus tax. The Oldfield Grandstand is also open and free to the public. The Speedway’s Web site, www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com, will also have weekly updates on the infield renovation project. Tickets for Speedweeks 2005 events, including the 47th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 20, are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS PR)(10-27-2004)


    October 26, 2004

  • Early TV Ratings for Martinsville up 14%: NBC’s broadcast of Sunday’s Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway drew a 4.0 overnight rating from the nation’s largest television markets, thatsracin.com reports. The figure represents a 14.3% increase from last year’s 3.5 overnight figure.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter), in 2002 the ratings were 3.9 overnight rating.(10-26-2004)
  • Glover Wins WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race: The newly reunited duo of Sterling Marlin and Tony Glover hit the ground running at last weekend’s Subway 500 in Martinsville, VA. Despite it being only the second race since reprising his role as crew chief, Glover led Marlin to a top-five finish at one of NASCAR’s most demanding tracks. The duo’s performance didn’t go unrecognized by the race fans, as they voted Glover the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race.
    The majority of fans who voted on www.WYPALL.com thought Glover deserved top honors for making a seamless transition back into the crew chief’s seat. Glover called a nearly perfect race, rallying back after his driver got turned around on lap 16. Marlin came back to lead 51 laps of the event, before finishing the afternoon in 4th place. “It’s like they (Glover and Marlin) never missed a beat,” said race fan Sarah Bass. “They worked together so well, especially considering it was only their second race back together. Not too many teams could do that.”
    “Tony (Glover) and Sterling (Marlin) have worked together a long time,” said WYPALL Wipers spokesman Robbie Reiser. “They understand each other. They may not have worked directly as a driver/crew chief combination for a while, but they’ve built up a team chemistry through the years that hasn’t died. When you’ve got that kind of relationship, you’re going to be successful. This weekend at Martinsville proved that.” Tony Eury, Sr. remains in first place in the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief Challenge with nine wins. Chad Knaus, Tommy Baldwin and Robbie Loomis are tied for second place with four wins. Robbie Reiser and Matt Borland stand in fourth place with two wins. Pat Tryson, Larry Carter, Lee McCall, Donnie Wingo, Phillipe Lopez, Ryan Pemberton, Tony Glover and Pete Rondeau are tied for fifth place, each with one win. The crew chief with the most weekly wins at the end of the season will be named WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and receive $10,000.00.(S.M.C. 500 PR)(10-26-2004)
  • Dale Jr. to take in a baseball game; Kenny too: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will attend Wednesday night’s game four of the 2004 Major League Baseball World Series. Game four will take place at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, the hometown of Anheuser-Busch. Dale Jr. finished in third place in the NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway Oct. 16, carrying a special paint scheme featuring the World Series and MLB logos. Budweiser, the official beer sponsor of Major League Baseball, has sponsorship deals with both teams represented in the World Series: the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals. This is the fourth season Bud and MLB have teamed up with a special paint scheme for the #8 Budweiser car.(fingerprint inc./Anheuser-Busch PR), Kenny Wallace also plans to attend a few World Series games in St. Louis, he from that area.(10-26-2004)
  • Wimmer testing at Kentucky: Kentucky Speedway says Scott Wimmer was scheduled to test Bill Davis Racing’s #22 Dodge at the facility today. Spectators may watch from the track’s fan center, but schedules are subject to change..(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(10-26-2004)
  • Bugles for Jeff Green at Atlanta: This weekend Jeff Green and the #43 Bugles Dodge team head into the 1.54-mile Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway for Sunday’s Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500. Green started the race back in March in the 18th spot and finished 19th. This is one of the final four races of the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup season on one of the fastest tracks on the circuit. Green will be driving a #43 Bugles-schemed Dodge this weekend. Some thoughts of #43 Bulges Dodge driver Jeff Green heading into Atlanta: “We’ve got Bugles on the hood and sides of the car this weekend. We’re going pretty fast, but you won’t be able to miss the bright colors of this Bugles car. It stands out and it’s a cool car just to look at. I’ll just be fortunate enough to drive it this weekend. We’re hoping we have a good run with this #43 Bugles Dodge.”(Williams Company PR) see an image of the scheme on my #43 Team Paint Schemes page or 2004 Cup Schemes Gallery.(10-26-2004)
  • Bobby Labonte’s car to be at D-Day memorial: The National D-Day Memorial will host NASCAR star Bobby Labonte’s #18 D-Day show car on Friday and Saturday [Oct 29, 30]. The car’s appearance comes following a D-Day-themed NASCAR race in Delaware in June during the Normandy invasion’s 60th anniversary. The car will be on display from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Regular admission fees to the memorial will apply. Miniature replicas of the car will be on sale, with a portion of sales benefiting the memorial. A drawing will be held for a replica signed by Labonte.(Lynchbug NewsAdvance), see images of the car on my #18 Team Paint Scheme page.(10-26-2004)
  • Sabates almost on the Hendrick flight: With his helicopter grounded by bad weather, Felix Sabates, co-owner of Chip Ganassi Racing, decided he did not want to take the chance of having the plane diverted and then having to drive to the Martinsville, Va., track in race traffic. Sabates said his helicopter pilot called to say he could have a seat on the plane and he was preparing to leave for the Concord, N.C., airport when Ganassi phoned. Ganassi told Sabates his plane had been diverted from the airport near the track to Danville, Va., 30 miles away. ”Chip said his plane missed its approach in Martinsville because of the weather and he was thinking about going home,” Sabates said. ”I didn’t feel like going to Danville and then having to drive to the track in traffic. If Chip hadn’t called me, I would have been on that plane. He saved my life.” After deciding to pass up the race, Sabates was at his home in Charlotte when he got a telephone call from NASCAR chairman Bill France Jr., telling him the plane was missing and asking Sabates to go to the home of fellow team owner Rick Hendrick. ”When I got to the house, I’m the one that told Rick about the accident,” Sabates said. ”Then Bill France called to tell me that they had found the wreckage and everybody was dead. I still get chills thinking about it. It’s just horrible for everyone.”(USA Today/Associated Press)(10-26-2004)
  • Martin to do a triple at Atlanta UPDATE: As if competing for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup championship wasn’t enough, Mark Martin announced today that he will compete in three races during the Oct. 29-31 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Martin will return to his roots on Friday, Oct. 29, competing in the ASA 150 for Atlanta-based World Financial Group, with associate sponsorship from longtime AMS sponsor Gresham & Associates. Martin, 45, began his racing career in the American Speed Association (ASA), logging 143 starts, which produced 22 race wins and four titles. Martin will continue logging miles during the Oct. 30 Aaron’s 312 Busch Series race in his #9 Roush Racing Ford sponsored by Cottman Transmissions. First on the all-time Busch Series win list, Martin already has three victories and two pole positions in Atlanta Busch Series events. On Sunday, Oct. 31, Martin will return to his #6 Viagra Ford for the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500, the seventh of 10 races in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup. The only race that Martin will miss all weekend at Atlanta is the Crown Royal IROC season championship. “But I’ll be working on my champion’s invite for next year,” Martin said with an impish grin. Martin is scheduled to test at Atlanta on Monday, Oct. 18.(AMS PR)(10-5-2004)
    UPDATE: Mark Martin will make a return to the series where he won four championships from 1978-86. Martin cut his teeth in the American Speed Association Series, winning Rookie of the Year honors in 1978, before moving on to multiple championships in the series and eventually making a name for himself as one of NASCAR’s all-time elite drivers. Martin will take a break from his hectic NASCAR schedule and make a return to his roots when he drives the World Financial #6 Ford in ASA at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Oct. 29. It will mark Martin’s first time in an ASA race since 1996. “We are all excited and pumped up about running the ASA car in Atlanta. We will be doing the triple that weekend with the ASA race on Friday, the Busch race Saturday and the Cup race on Sunday. That will be a busy weekend for sure. I have a great affinity for this series. It’s a world-class series with world-class drivers that put on an extremely competitive show and I think they’ll really put a show on at both Lowe’s and Atlanta.” Martin’s last run in ASA came on Sept. 2, 1996 where he ran to a top-10 finish at the Minnesota State Fair. Martin has finished inside the top 10 in 66 percent of the 143 ASA races he has started. Martin’s sponsor for the race will be World Financial Group, Inc. (WFG). World Financial Group is an independent marketing company whose affiliates offer life insurance and a broad array of financial products and services.(Roush Racing PR)(10-26-2004)
  • #50 Arnold Motorsports gets a sponsor for Atlanta: Arnold Motorsports announced Monday that Atlanta-based U.S. Micro Corporation will be stepping up as the primary sponsor of the #50 Arnold Motorsports Dodge for the Bass Pro Shops/MBNA 500 in Atlanta this week with Todd Bodine behind the wheel. U.S. Micro Corporation, a national computer and technology asset disposal company, became an associate sponsor and “official computer provider” for the #50 Dodge team for the remainder of the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season three weeks ago beginning with the Kansas City race.(Arnold Motorsports PR)(10-26-2004)
  • So…some on Rusty…Ryan UPDATE NASCAR Investigating: #2-Rusty Wallace bumped teammate #12-Ryan Newman after the race to show his displeasure over a lap 493 incident between the two that dropped Wallace from second place to 10th while Newman took third. “I told [Newman] to stay out of my way and I could win the race, but he didn’t do it,” Wallace said. Newman’s reply: “I don’t guess Rusty and I are on speaking terms right now. I was underneath him, and I know he came down on me. I wasn’t going to give him anything, so he got loose and lost a bunch of spots. Our car was faster than his at the end. I’m not sure he’s aware of that, but he will be.”(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(10-25-2004)
    UPDATE: NASCAR is investigating a post-race incident involving Penske Racing South drivers Ryan Newman and Rusty Wallace, spokesman Mike Zizzo confirmed Monday. NASCAR is still gathering information on the incident and looking at video and it is not clear as yet what – if any – penalties will be assessed, Zizzo said. Newman and Wallace traded bumps while battling for second place, which sent Wallace to the outside lane, on Lap 494 of 500 in Sunday’s Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway. After the “cool down” lap, Newman, who finished third, drove on to pit road where the top-five cars are required to stop. Wallace followed Newman down and appear to hit the rear of Newman’s #12 Dodge.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-26-2004)


    October 25, 2004

  • BANG Racing closing shop? UPDATE, NO..to Cup and Busch? Ward? during the Nextel Cup qualifying coverage on Speed Channel, former BANG Racing owner Larry McReynolds mentioned when Travis Kvapil [#24 BANG Racing’s driver] was qualifying for his first Nextel Cup race at Martinsville in the #06 Penske Dodge, that it is likely that BANG Racing will close its doors at the end of the 2004 season.(10-22-2004)
    BUT another source says BANG Racing has secured a sponsor for a full-time cup ride for next year and will make the announcement at Phoenix or Homestead.(10-23-2004)
    UPDATE: still hearing Travis Kvapil will run BANG Racing full-time Busch team in a Ford with Linex as the sport.
    AND a WILD one: hearing that BANG Racing will field a full time cup team next year with NetZero as the sponsor and Ward Burton as the driver.(10-25-2004)
  • Darlington Testing Schedule for This Week: The testing schedule for next Tuesday, October 26, includes confirmed teams and drivers of:
    DEI (team confirmed, driver or drivers unspecified); #18-Bobby Labonte; #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr.; #0-Ward Burton; #16-Greg Biffle, #17-Matt Kenseth and #30-Jeff Burton, along with Biffle’s #60 Busch team.(Darlington Raceway PR)(10-19/25-2004)
  • Sadler’s DNF streak goes Poof: #38-Elliott Sadler had his first DNF [did not finish] of the season at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday when he hit #01-Joe Nemechek in a cloud of smoke. So all drivers who have made all 32 Cup races in 2004 now have at least one DNF. #31-Robby Gordon now owns the longest active streak of races running at the finish with 30 races, his last DNF came at North Carolina Speedway in February. After Gordon, #6-Mark Martin and #88-Dale Jarrett have the next longest streak at 18 races. Who leads the DNF’s? #72-Shelmerdine has DNF’d in all 17 races he has run in 2004. Of the drivers who have ran all 32 races, #43-Jeff Green has the most with 10.(10-25-2004)
  • Average Finish of the Chasers in the 6 races run for the Chase so far:
    Car#, Driver, Ave Finish (best finish/worse finish), Points Pos
    #97-Busch, 4.3 (1/6), 1
    #24-Gordon, 8.8 (2/19), 2
    #8-Earnhardt Jr., 9.7 (1/33), 3
    #6-Martin, 12.5 (2/20), 5
    #20-Stewart, 15.0 (6/39), 6
    #48-Johsnon, 15.3 (1/37), 4
    #38-Sadler, 15.5 (4/32), 7
    #17-Kenseth, 15.7 (2/32), 8
    #12-Newman, 16.7 (1/33), 9
    #19-Mayfield, 20.2 (5/38), 10
    Only #97-Busch has had a top 10 in a 6 races
    All but Busch have had at least one race of 19th or worse
    Only one of the ‘Chasers’ do not have a top-5, #20-Stewart.(10-25-2004)
  • Inspections passed; Johnson’s delayed: All cars that underwent postrace inspection at Martinsville Speedway Sunday passed. Because of the plane crash involving Hendrick Motorsports personnel, Jimmie Johnson’s car was loaded up upon his departure and not immediately inspected. It is scheduled to be inspected today.(Roanoke Times)(10-25-2004)
  • Pit Bull to be put down? NASCAR executives love the new television package that has boosted national coverage of their sport the past three years, but it’s no secret they’re not fond of one of the newest pre-game shows, Saturday night’s Pit Bulls [usually 6:30pm/et, also known as Pit Hogs by Jimmy Spencer], on Speed, the Fox cable subsidiary. Pit Bulls is Fox’ specialized version of The Sports Reporters, and its irreverent, politically-incorrect stance on many NASCAR racing issues has drawn a surprising following among stock-car crews [I never miss it], who sometimes express amazement that NASCAR officials have allowed the show to continue. Pit Bulls follows a distinctly different line from the typical NASCAR pre-game and post-game racing shows, which are frequently little more than public-relations showcases for NASCAR-approved themes, promoted by a bevy of drivers, some of whom, like Michael Waltrip [on Inside Nextel Cup, see next blurb], have lately increased their criticism of the show. Now it appears that the Pit Bulls show may be ripe for Brian France’s axe at the end of the season, according to TV sources, who say the show could be sacrificed in post-season NASCAR-TV negotiations to appease Daytona executives.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-25-2004)
  • Real troopers…too wet to protest: The National Association of Minority Race Fans said it had 75 protestors in place at Martinsville Speedway to continue its demonstrations against what it sees as unsafe conditions for minorities and women at NASCAR tracks. The protest was, however, canceled due to “wet, soggy conditions.” NAMRF “decided its message would be muted given the dreary weather,” it said in a statement.(ThatsRacin.com), probably didn’t want to get mud in the limo.(10-25-2004)

October 24, 2004

  • Johnson wins at Martinsville: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway, his 6th win of the season, 12th of his career, 2nd in a row [he won at Charlotte last week] and first ever win at a short track [less then a mile in length]. #42-Jamie McMurray got by #12-Ryan Newman for second on the last corner, #40-Sterling Marlin was 4th and #97-Kurt Busch, the points leader, finished 5th. #43-Jeff Green finished 7th and ran strong all day, getting his first top-10 of 2004. Busch now has a 96 point lead over #24-Jeff Gordon who moved into 2nd. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. had trouble all day and parked the car after a wreck, finishing 33rd and dropping to third. There was no victory celebration due to the fatal plane crash involving many of the Hendrick family [see above].
    For more on the race, cautions, lap leaders, narrative, etc., see my Martinsville Race Info/Rundown Page
    See race results at:
    Jayski’s Martinsville Race Results page
    ThatsRacin.com
    MotorsportsOne
    NASCAR.com.(10-24-2004)
  • Martinsville Illegal Parts & Pieces:
    #80 Mario Gosselin – Had a complete Hutchen’s Device pulled, including attached yellow and red release straps. It was marked “Not to be used more than 2 years past manufactured date.” Sewn on white tag, stated Manufactured (9-2001).
    #31 Robby Gordon – Had numerous pieces on display, the items included damaged parts caused when lead weights left his car in turn 3 during early Friday practice laps at Martinsville Speedway, after light rain subsided. Obviously the lead weights were not secured.
    * The largest magnetized lead weight 3 5/8 x 2 1/2 x 7 was so heavy it could not be moved on the metal counter top.
    * The second magnetized lead weight was 2 5/8 x 2 5/8 x 7, extremely heavy but movable.
    * A 3x2x7 piece of hollow metal was tagged lead weight holder.
    * An approximate, 15″ piece of hose and air duct smashed and ripped off by lead weights was on display.
    * A metal strap that had been around the air hose had also been picked up.
    * One Goodyear tire marked LR (Left Rear) was cut by lead weights, the cut was circled in red.
    A Gordon team member, in the NASCAR hauler when IRN was present, advised NASCAR that a bolt was missing.(Insider Racing News)(10-24-2004)
  • AOL done with NASCAR? UPDATE 4 RCR to Jack Daniel’s #7? or #07?: Garage insiders indicate that America Online may want to scale back their involvement in the sport next season. Currently, they sponsor the #30 Chevy of Jeff Burton.(Motorsports.com)(9-11-2004)
    UPDATE: Car owner Richard Childress is expected to sign a sponsorship renewal with AOL, according to sources.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-18-2004)
    AND/OR? Richard Childress is negotiating with AOL, sponsor of his #30 car [Jeff Burton], but says he has a backup plan if that sponsorship falls through.(FoxSports/Sporting NewsOR? Motorsport.com is reporting that AOL is leaving the sport of NASCAR next season to become the title sponsor of another stock car racing series. While they will remain in the sport on a lesser basis than the head sponsor of the #30 Richard Childress Racing Chevy, RCR has been shopping for a new sponsor. Word is that they found one this week and are good to go for next season.(9-20-2004)
    UPDATE 2 AOL OUT: hearing AOL will NOT be back with the #30 Richard Childress Racing (RCR) Chevy in 2004 and is leaving the sport, supposedly AOL does not see NASCAR as a viable tool in their marketing/business plan.(10-21-2004)
    UPDATE 3 – Jack Daniel’s and #7: Rumor is that the #30 Chevy will change sponsors and car number next season. Plausible sponsor: Jack Daniels. New car number: 7 – for ‘Old Lucky 7’.(Motorsport.com), actually, being a Jack Daniel’s buff myself [see Kurt’s old Jack Decanter’s site], it is not ‘Old Lucky 7’, Jack Daniel’s is known for the #7 and is called ‘Old No. 7 Brand’ why? no one knows for sure why Jack Daniels named it Old No. 7 [per the Jack Daniels site].(10-23-2004)
    UPDATE 4: Car owner Richard Childress is ready to make some announcements about his roster for 2005, and it looks as if he’ll have a new car number for one of his teams, 07, to go with new sponsor Jack Daniels. That sponsor could replace AOL. If so, Jeff Burton might wind up in Childress’ Cingular-sponsored car.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-24-2004)
  • Brett Bodine ~ Pace Car Driver: Brett Bodine, former Winston Cup driver, will be the permanent pace car driver when the Cup cars are running. His day job is in the Research and Development Center as Director of Cost Research. Bodine will not pace the Truck Series or the Busch Series races. They have their own drivers.(Insider Racing News)(10-24-2004)
  • Steve Wallace wins again..and Rusty’s plans for him: Steve Wallace, the 17 year-old son of NASCAR legend, Rusty Wallace, started from the pole and led every lap en route to a victory in tonight’s National Dodge 150 at Coastal Plains Raceway Park [Jacksonville, NC]. His victory in the UARA-STARS season finale marks his third win of the year and his third victory in the last four UARA-STARS series events. By virtue of his performance, the younger Wallace secured the Hobart Sales and Service Rookie of the Year title. In addition, Wallace’s qualifying lap of 15.69 seconds smashed the former track record by nearly three tenths of a second, adding to the plethora of track records he has secured this season. Rusty’s [#66] Busch Series crew chief, Blake Bainbridge, started working with Steve’s team before Bristol he has won three of four races since then. To learn more about Steve and Rusty Wallace, Inc., log on to www.rustywallace.com.(RWI PR), also on FSN’s NASCAR This Morning, Rusty Wallace was interviewed and said he plans to get 17-year old Steve testing a Busch car as soon as possible and that Richard Childress will run Steve in a race at Caraway Speedway [Asheboro, NC] soon.(10-24-2004)
  • Martinsville Race Notes:
    *** Jimmie Johnson won the Subway 500, scoring his 12th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 107th career start. His last victory came at Charlotte, October 16th, 2004, one race ago.
    *** It was Johnson’s sixth victory in 2004.
    *** Johnson scored his first victory in six races at Martinsville Speedway. It marked his fifth top-10 finish at the Virginia short-track. This is Johnson’s first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory on a short track.
    *** Johnson climbed from eighth to fourth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
    *** Johnson led twice for 67 laps including the final 61. He did not lead the most laps.
    *** Kurt Busch led four times for 120 laps, leading the most laps for the fourth time in 2004.
    *** This was the 19th victory for Chevrolet. Dodge has nine and Ford has four. Notebook Items The Chase for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup
    *** With four races remaining in the Chase for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, 364 points separate first to 10th. The Chase started with a 45-point separation between first and 10th at Race No. 27 at New Hampshire. The biggest point margin is between ninth and 10th-place where Ryan Newman leads Jeremy Mayfield by 98 points.
    *** Five of the 10 drivers in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup posted top-10 finishes in the 2004 Subway 500.
    *** Five drivers in the top-10 in points changed positions at Martinsville Speedway.
    *** All 10 drivers competing in the Chase for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup scored at least one victory in the first 26 races of the 2004 season.
    *** Five of the six Chase races have been won by drivers competing in the Chase: New Hampshire (Kurt Busch), Dover (Ryan Newman), Talladega (Dale Earnhardt Jr.), Charlotte (Jimmie Johnson) and Martinsville (Jimmie Johnson). Only the race at Kansas (Joe Nemechek) was won by a non-Chase driver.
    *** Kurt Busch is the only driver to score top-10 finishes in the first six races in the Chase. Busch has finished sixth or better in all six races.
    *** Jeff Gordon (second) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (third in The Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup are both within 125 points of the point leader and could possibly overtake Kurt Busch at Atlanta.
    *** Dale Earnhardt Jr. lost 101 points to leader Kurt Busch in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, the biggest drop in the standings among the top-10 at Martinsville Speedway. Earnhardt Jr. is now 125 points behind point-leader Kurt Busch, dropping from second to third in the standings.
    *** The Other Chase Approximately $1 million will be paid to the driver who finishes 11th in the final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, an increase of more than $400,000 from over one year ago. That includes a $250,000 bonus, which will be paid to the 11th-place finisher. Additionally, the 11th-place driver will also join the top-10 drivers on the stage at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Awards Ceremony in New York in December. Currently, Jamie McMurray holds the 11th-place position by 197 points over 12th-place Dale Jarrett. Jarrett cannot overtake McMurray at Atlanta.
    *** Jamie McMurray (second) scored his 20th top-10 finish of the season. It was his third top-10 finish in four races at Martinsville Speedway. McMurray has scored nine top-10 finishes in the last 10 races.
    *** Ryan Newman (third) scored his 13th top-10 finish in 2004. It is his third top-five finish in six races at Martinsville Speedway.
    *** Sterling Marlin (fourth) scored his seventh top-10 finish in 2004. It is his 13th top-10 finish in 37 races at Martinsville Speedway.
    *** Kurt Busch (fifth) scored his 18th top-10 finish in 2004. It is his third top-10 finish in nine races at Martinsville Speedway.
    *** Matt Kenseth (16th) has ranked in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Top 10 67 straight races.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(10-24-2004)
  • Stock Car Fans – Rumblings – Martinsville: Jimmie Johnson got his second win in as many weeks today at Martinsville Speedway in the Subway 500 as he led the final 61 circuits to claim win #6 for 2004 and the 12th of his career (he’s now in sole possession of 46th place). His first short track win was worth $157,440 from the posted awards of over $4.6M. This was win #128 for Hendrick MotorSports.
    Jamie McMurray (2nd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Infineon Raceway in June.
    Sterling Marlin (4th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Bristol in March.
    Jeff Green (7th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Texas in April of 2003! His Top-10 gives us 39 drivers at that mark this
    season….last years number was 42.
    Scott Wimmer (20th) had his best finish since he was 18th at Michigan in August.
    STREAKIN….Kurt Busch has 6 Top-10’s in a row.
    Jamie McMurray has 9 Top-10’s in the last 10 races. This Week’s Elevator…UP: Operator of the Week is Kasey Kahne (+25). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Dale Earnhardt Jr (-30), followed by Ward Burton (-24), Scott Riggs (-20), and Brendan Gaughan (-20).(StockCarFans.Com Nextelcup Newsletter)(10-24-2004)
  • Goodyear Dusputes Claims: Goodyear’s Rick Heinrich disputes suspicions some Cup teams have raised about tires on the Cup tour and said Goodyear has made no design changes to its intermediate track tires all season. Questions about a number of blown right-front tires at Charlotte last weekend and worries about similar problems next weekend at Atlanta have been raised here this weekend by crews and drivers. #9-Kasey Kahne, #17-Matt Kenseth and #77-Brendan Gaughan were among the Charlotte drivers blowing right fronts. Kahne was dominating the race when his right front blew with 100 miles to go. “We may never know exactly what happened with that specific tire, but we’ve shared some things we’ve seen with them,” Heinrich said of Kahne’s tire. “The problem at Charlotte wasn’t chronic. We have had talks with those teams that had problems this week, and we’ve had some good conversations with those teams. The vast majority of teams didn’t have problems.”(Winston Salem Journal)(10-24-2004)
  • Gordon gives Loomis a ride: Jeff Gordon took crew chief Robbie Loomis for a few laps around Martinsville Speedway yesterday in NBC’s Nextel Cup car.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(10-24-2004)
  • NASCAR Tears #37 Engine Down: NASCAR officials were seen tearing down the engine of Kevin Lepages’ #37 Dodge in the garage area at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday. There was no indication as to what the violation was. The car is owned and sponsored by Carter Racing.(Insider Racing News), Lepage lost one engine in Friday’s practice and didn’t qualify for the race, using a provisional to make the race.(10-24-2004)
  • NASCAR Gives Up? NASCAR officials have apparently given up trying to rein in testing by Cup teams. Earlier this season NASCAR reportedly considered asking Goodyear to control tires as a means of limiting testing. But that proposal has apparently gone by the wayside.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-24-2004)
  • Kangaroo TV: During yesterday’s truck race [at Martinsville], a Canadian company called Kangaroo.TV was testing a hand-held multimedia handset that carries live TV coverage, in-truck video feeds, timing and scoring and scanner transmissions. The device, which is 3 inches wide and has full-color, high-resolution video, could be available to fans at Nextel Cup races next season.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(10-24-2004)



    October 23, 2004

  • Could an All-Native American Racing School be in the Works? A new racing school targeted at Native American youth could be in the works. Derrike Cope, NASCAR driver and winner of the 1990 Daytona 500, is looking to bring the idea to life. Cope said that the plans haven’t been finalized yet, but all parties involved are close to an agreement. “Right now, all indications are positive,” he said. Cope explained that he has spoken with several different tribes to get a feel for who might be interested in sponsoring his idea. Another possibility is an all-Native pit crew. “We’ve actually gone through a lot of scenarios.” Why? To create some diversity in NASCAR and, Cope told NAT, to “create a platform for young Native Americans to learn a trade around motor sports.” An all-Native racing school would likely be a first of its kind, said John Harrington, who is helping Cope with possible funding. Harrington is the President of Integrity Gaming.(Native Times – pay site)(10-23-2004)
  • Another RCR Swap in the works? UPDATE 3 Blaney?: hearing that Richard Childress Racing could swap entrie teams again, with the current #30 driver, Jeff Burton and crew going to the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy, currently driven by Robby Gordon. Cingular Wireless can stay in the sport, only if they stay on the #31 Chevy with RCR. The crew of the #31 could go to the #30 with either Gordon [unlikely] or another driver [Ricky Craven? Dave Blaney?], have hear that AOL may or may not be back in 2005, but Richard Childress has said before, if AOL opts not to to return, he has another option for a sponsor.
    AND Richard Childress said that he would be making announcements soon, possibly by the end of October. In the Nextel Cup Series, RCR has Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton signed with multi-year deals, but Childress will have to make the decision whether to retain Robby Gordon. Childress is also working to make sure AOL returns as Burton’s sponsor in 2005. “We’re probably going to make those announcements around Atlanta or a little after,” Childress said. “We pretty much have everything in place. You know, we are going to make adjustments all throughout or organization. We’re going to make a few adjustments, everything from Cup to Busch.”(NASCAR.com)(10-8-2004)
    AND II: hearing if AOL doesn’t come back to the #30 car, the sponsor could be Motorola.(10-9-2004)
    UPDATE: Several Nextel Cup teams – Roush Racing and Richard Childress Racing among them – are primed to sign sponsorship deals with hard-liquor companies, including Diageo and Jack Daniels.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-15-2004)
    UPDATE 2: Expect Richard Childress to make more changes before the start of the 2005 season. An announcement the last week of October at Atlanta should clarify the situation, at least partially. Jeff Burton could move from the #30 car to the #31.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(10-18-2004)
    UPDATE 3: Garage buzz indicates that Dave Blaney may fill the seat of the No. 30 when Jeff Burton moves to the #31 at the end of the season. The #30 crew is expected to follow Burton to the 31 ride.(Motorsport.com)(10-23-2004)
  • Gaughan plays some baskettball and talks to high schoolers: #77-Brendan Gaughan continued his Martinsville tradition Thursday night and it left him winded. Gaughan spoke with the Martinsville High School boys basketball team about staying in school and then played with them for the third year in a row. The tradition started when Martinsville coach Troy Wells asked Gaughan to speak to his team, knowing that Gaughan was a member of the Georgetown basketball team when John Thompson coached and Allen Iverson played. Gaughan said he’d speak if he could play with the team. Gaughan, 29, said he played about five games with the team Thursday. “I’m absolutely not in shape to do that,” he said. “My game involves beating up a lot of guys and trash talking. That’s what I was accustomed to for four years at Georgetown.”(Roanoke Times)(10-23-2004)
  • Key Dates in Goodyear Racing History: Highlighting the accomplishments of Goodyear engineers and Goodyear-equipped racers:
    Oct. 18, 1981 – Goodyear-equipped driver Sammy Swindell finishes the World of Outlaws season at Eldora Speedway and wins the championship. It is Goodyear’s first WoO title and the tiremaker would go on to dominate WoO competition for two decades.
    Oct. 23, 1970 – Gary Gabelich, trusting his life to Goodyear’s bias-belted tire construction, pilots his Liquid Natural Gas-propelled vehicle, the Blue Flame, on record-setting runs of 617.602 mph and 627.287 mph in the Utah desert. The right rear Goodyear tire makes its 27th and 28th runs that day. The tire finishes with 17 passes in excess of 400 mph, 11 of those above 500 mph. It may be the most successful tire in land speed record history.
    Oct. 24, 1965 – Richie Ginther becomes the first driver to win a Formula One race on Goodyear tires when he wins in Mexico. When Goodyear left Formula One in 1998, the company retired with 368 victories, still the best among tiremakers.
    Oct. 25-26, 1975 – Bobby Unser and Bobby Allison, racing on Goodyear tires, win International Race of Champions events at Riverside International Raceway.
    Oct. 26, 1997 – John Paul Jr. and Butch Leitzinger win the one-hour, 45-minute World Sportscar Championship race at Laguna Seca. They drive a Dyson Racing Riley&Scott.
    Oct. 26-27, 1974 – Emerson Fittipaldi and Bobby Allison win International Race of Champions events at Riverside International Raceway.
    Oct. 27, 1973 – Mark Donohue drives a Porsche Carrera RSR to victory in the inaugural International Race of Champions event, held at Riverside International Raceway. George Follmer wins a second race later the same day. Every IROC lap in history has been run on Goodyear tires.
    Oct. 27-28, 1979 – Mario Andretti and Darrell Waltrip win International Race of Champions races on Goodyear tires at Riverside International Raceway.
    Oct. 28, 1973 – Mark Donohue, racing on Goodyear tires, wins his second IROC race in as many days at Riverside International Raceway.(Goodyear PR)(10-23-2004)
  • Miller will has a say in Rusty’s Replacement: #2-Rusty Wallace said earlier this week that sponsor Miller Brewing Co. will have a strong say in hiring a replacement between the ages of 25 of 30 when he retires after 2005. “They’ve agreed to sponsor the car for an additional two years after I retire [so that would be thru 2007] as long as we come up with a driver to fit their criteria, which is fair,” Wallace said. “We’ll look for a driver that’s actively involved in the setup of the car, knows a lot about the chassis, and somebody who knows what it takes to be successful in the sport. Somebody has got to be willing to work with the fans and media well. Somebody’s got to be willing to sit in an airplane and fly around the country and service our sponsors.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(10-23-2004)


    October 22, 2004

  • Robby Gordon will NOT be back with RCR in 2005: #31-Robby Gordon has confirmed that he and car owner Richard Childress will split at the end of 2004. Gordon told PRN’s Garagepass, “The process is we’ve made the determination that our Busch car runs so competitive every weekend that we’re gonna go ahead and make the step and move that to a Nextel Cup car in 2005. Obviously we’ll have other announcements in the near future but our plan is to take our exisiting Busch car and roll that up to a cup program.” When asked…so you won’t be with RCR next year? Gordon said, “that’s what it sounds like right now, so that looks like our direction…looks like the direction we’re trying to head.”(PRN’s Garagepass Radio show)(10-22-2004)
  • DHL? remeber all the rumors that DHL would be a sponsor in 2005 for a Cup team? and the rumored team was the #1 DEI team [looks untrue], well DHL is on the bright yellow #59 BAM Racing Dodge of Klaus Graf at Martinsville Speedway, but looks like Graf will not be fast enough to make the Subway 500.(10-22-2004)
  • Firestone in NASCAR? UPDATE 2: on Monday’s WInd Tunnel with Dave Despain [Speed Channel 10:00pm/et], Robin Miller reported that Firestone supposedly will test a Truck Series truck or Busch Series car in 2005 with a Toyota engine and Firestone tires, similiar to what Scott Pruett did in the early 1990’s, where he tested Firestone tires for a full season. Goodyear has a contract with NASCAR thru the 2007 season, so Firestone couldn’t come in the Cup Series until 2008.(10-19-2004)
    AND see the full column by Robin Miller at Speed Channel – Bridgestone/Firestone to begin NASCAR initiative.(10-20-2004)
    UPDATE 2: Goodyear has an exclusive deal with NASCAR to supply tires for its top three professional series through 2007, but there are reports Bridgestone/Firestone and B.F. Goodrich are interested in supplanting Goodyear. Stu Grant, general manager for Goodyear’s worldwide racing program, isn’t surprised by the interest. “Look at what’s going on in racing,” he said. “NASCAR is where everybody wants to be.” NASCAR officials say that having a single tire supplier makes racing safer and they have no interest in starting another tire war such as the one that raged between Goodyear and Hoosier before the exclusive deal was signed in 1995. As for the possibility of changing tire suppliers, NASCAR spokesman Mike Zizzo said only, “We have a great relationship with Goodyear. It’s very satisfying and a continual benefit to the sport.”(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(10-22-2004)
  • Labonte not only with Kellogg’s OR: hearing that Terry Labonte will only run the #44 Kellogg’s scheme in five races each of 2005 and 2006 and will run the other races in other Hendrick Motorsports associate sponsor schemes such as Carquest, ditech.com, GMAC, Delphi and Quaker State.(10-21-2004)
    OR have also been told that Kellogg’s will be on Labonte’s car for all 10 races each season, but that the #5 Chevy with Kyle Busch would have an associate sponsor as the primary whrn Labonte races.(10-22-2004)
  • Sadler Auto Center to Launch Information Website at Martinsville: Hermie Sadler has always believed in the power of marketing in NASCAR, and his automobile dealerships are now putting their money where their mouth is. NASCAR fans know the Sadler name because of the success of Hermie and Elliott Sadler on the track, but many fans may not know that Hermie Sadler also owns and operates three automobile dealerships in Southside Virginia. Between his three dealerships, Sadler carries all domestic makes and models as well as Honda, and also handles pre-owned and program cars of all makes.
    This weekend at Martinsville, Sadler is launching a simple, free “help” center for people and businesses that are interested in buying, selling, or trading new or used cars. The website is www.sadlersearch.com. Instead of the normal automated car search websites, sadlersearch.com is simple and easy to use. All customers have to do is send their request for information, and they will get a personal response from a Sadler Auto Center representative within 24 hours. Sadler says the goal is obviously to sell cars, but also to help give good information and advice to people in other areas when they are in the market to buy a car.
    “We certainly want to sell and service more customers,” Sadler said, “but this is also a way for people to get quick, honest information on automobiles, warranties, financing, and trade values. We want people to have helpful information, regardless of where they live or who they buy from. This site is not fancy, you simply fill out an information box and we personally respond to you and answer your questions.” For more information, visit www.sadlersearch.com or call 1-800-899-8855.(PR)(10-22-2004)
  • Racing Champions out of NASCAR? hearing that Racing Champions is giving up all there of it’s trackside programs after 2004. Some of Racing Champion’s properties include: #48-Jimmie Johnson, #22-Scott Wimmer, #0-Ward Burton. These programs will supposedly be divided up between Team Caliber and Action Performance.(10-22-2004)
  • More on Drive for Diversity: Racing without a license, fast cars and a giant sponge sums up the adventure enjoyed by youth from the YWCA Central Carolinas. The children, guests of Goody’s Headache Powders and “Drive for Diversity,” were treated to a full NASCAR experience that began with racing NASCAR simulators, giving the command to start the Lowe’s Presents SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300 NASCAR Busch Series race, meeting SpongeBob SquarePants and then ended with watching the event. Goody’s Headache Powders, the “Official Pain Reliever of NASCAR” for nearly 30 years and a partner in NASCAR’s diversity initiatives, hosted the children in an effort to introduce NASCAR racing to more diverse audiences. The idea to bring the kids from the YWCA Central Carolinas to Lowe’s Motor Speedway – the Mecca of motorsports – was an offshoot of another program Goody’s Headache Powders offers in the Charlotte area. Goody’s Headache Powders implemented a community grant program called “F.A.S.T. – Finding A Solution Together” at the beginning of the year that offers funding to nonprofit organizations striving to make a difference in Charlotte’s African-American community. The YWCA Central Carolinas recently received a $5,000 F.A.S.T. grant to fund Spanish language literacy workshops for minority children attending its after-school program. Drive for Diversity (www.drivefordiversity.com) was created and is managed by Access Marketing & Communications, a Charlotte-based multicultural marketing firm founded in 2003 by Calhoun Enterprises and The Radiate Group. Drive for Diversity seeks to provide diverse and female driver and crew member development programs as an initial step in a long-term solution to diversify NASCAR’s participant and audience base.(PR)(10-22-2004)
  • Martinsville Qualifying Notes:
    —- Ryan Newman won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Bud Pole for the Subway 500, lapping Martinsville Speedway in 19.513 seconds at 97.043 mph. He broke Tony Stewart’s track-qualifying record of 19.855 seconds, 95.371 mph, set Sept. 29, 2000. With the new racing surface, the top-17 qualifiers bested Stewart’s time.
    —- This is Newman’s 25th career Bud Pole in 112 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races (22.3 per cent). His most recent Bud Pole came at Charlotte one race ago. He moved to 25th on the all-time Bud Pole winner’s list, passing Alan Kulwicki and Jack Smith.
    —- Newman joined Jeff Gordon (Michigan through Chicago), Casey Mears (Pocono and Indianapolis) and Joe Nemechek (Talladega and Kansas) in posting back-to-back Bud Poles this season.
    —- This is Newman’s 22nd top-10 start in 2004, more than any other driver. It is Newman’s fourth start of third or better in six races at Martinsville, including two Bud Poles. He has started from the top 10 in all of his Martinsville races.
    —- Newman took sole possession of the lead in the race for the 2004 Bud Pole Award with his seventh Bud Pole of the season. Newman has won the award for the past two years. Jeff Gordon (six), Kasey Kahne (four), Casey Mears (two), Brian Vickers (two), Jeremy Mayfield (two) and Joe Nemechek (two) are the other drivers with more than one Bud Pole this season. Qualifying was canceled at Watkins Glen, second Michigan and second New Hampshire.
    —- Rusty Wallace had the second-fastest time with a qualifying lap of 19.677 seconds at 96.234 mph and will join Newman on the front row. It is his 12th top-10 start in 2004. It is his 32nd top-10 start in his 42 races at Martinsville.
    —- This is 15th Bud Pole for Dodge in 2004. Chevrolet has 12 Bud Poles and Ford has two.
    —- Dale Earnhardt Jr. (third) posted his 19th top-10 start in 2004. It is his eighth top-10 start in 10 races at Martinsville, all in the past eight races here.
    —- Ward Burton (fourth) posted his fifth top-10 start in 2004. It is his sixth top-10 start in 20 races at Martinsville and his fourth in the past five races here.
    —– Travis Kavpil (fifth), driving a fourth Penske Racing entry, qualified for his career-first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race.
    —- Jeff Gordon (15th) ended a streak of three consecutive Bud Poles and eight consecutive top-10 starts at Martinsville. This is just his seventh start outside the top 10 in 24 races at Martinsville and his second-worst. He started 25th in his second Martinsville race (September 1993).
    —- Chad Chaffin (37th) qualified for hiscareer-first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race.
    —- Three of the 10 drivers involved in The Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup qualified in the top-10: Newman, Earnhardt Jr., and Kurt Busch.
    —- Jimmy Spencer, Todd Bodine, Kirk Shelmerdine, Mario Gosselin and Kevin Lepage used provisionals to complete the 43-car field. It will be Gosselin’s career-first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup start. Seven drivers failed to qualify for the Subway 500: Klaus Graf, Mike Garvey, Morgan Shepherd, Ryan McGlynn, Greg Sacks, Brad Teague and Carl Long.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(10-22-2004)
  • Stock Car Fans – Ramblings – Martinsville: Ryan Newman shattered the old track record (for that matter the first 17 cars were quicker than the previous mark….and I thought it would be more) at Martinsville Speedway and sped to his 7th Bud Pole of the season today for Sunday’s Subway 500. His time of 19.513 (97.043 mph) was over 3/10th’s quicker than the previous record and gives Newman 25 poles in his career. Newman is now one up on Jeff Gordon in the Bud Pole contingency program with only Kasey Kahne (4) still mathematically eligible for the top spot in that award program.
    It’ll be an all-Penske front row as teammate Rusty Wallace (2nd) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Infineon in June.
    Ward Burton (4th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at The Brickyard in August.
    Jamie McMurray (8th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 5th at Bristol in August.
    Sterling Marlin (16th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 3rd at Bristol in August.
    Ken Schrader (20th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 17th at Loudon in July.
    Kyle Petty (26th) has his best starting spot since he qualififed 26th at The Brickyard in August.
    WELCOME: Travis Kvapil (5th!….what a beginning), Chad Chaffin (37th), and Mario Gosselin (42nd) all make their first Nextel Cup starts this weekend. Kvapil comes from the Craftsman Truck Series, Chaffin has been racing in that series as well but has turned an awful lot of laps around Nashville Fairgrounds in his day, and Gosselin has long been a standout in the Hooters ProCup and Late Model Series. All three of these guys have a lot of short-track laps on their resumes.
    STREAKIN….Ryan Newman has 6 Top-10 starts in the last 7 races.
    A surprising 50 cars on hand this weekend…..that gives us a large Trouble Train of 7. Klaus Graf (missing the field by less than 2/100ths of a second ), Mike Garvey, Morgan Shepherd, Ryan McGlynn, Greg Sacks, Brad Teague, and Carl Long are the inhabitants of the TT this week.
    Provisionals were taken by: Jimmy Spencer, Todd Bodine, Kirk Shelmerdine (the 16th time this season the #72 has used a freebie to make the field), Mario Gosselin, and Kevin Lepage.(see full post at the Stock Car Fans Site)(10-22-2004)


    October 21, 2004

  • Double Duty at Martinsville:
    Cup regulars who will run the Martisnville Truck race:
    #18-Bobby Labonte will run the #47 Truck
    #22-Scott Wimmer could relieve Bill Lester in the #22 Truck
    #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr. will run the #59 Dodge
    #42-Jamie McMurray will run the #2 Ultra Truck
    #49-Ken Schrader will run his #52 Truck
    #99-Carl Edwards will be in the #99
    #50-Todd Bodine will be in the #30 Toyota
    Truck regulars who will run the Martinsville Cup race:
    #24-Travis Kvapil will be in the #06 Penske Racing Dodge
    #18-Chad Chaffin will be in the #98 Ford.(10-21-2004)
  • Martin Fastest in testing at Atlanta: With the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 weekend only a week away, the garages were full on Wednesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway as 16 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch teams prepared their vehicles. Mark Martin topped the unofficial speed chart during the day/night test, piloting his #6 Viagra Ford around the 1.54-mile quad-oval in 30.00 seconds (184.800 mph). Martin also tested Monday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and then waited out the weather that hit metro Atlanta on Tuesday to stay and finish testing on Wednesday. It was a little longer than he intended to stay in Hampton, but Martin said it was worth it. “With five races left, and the championship on the line, we have no room for error,” Martin said. “We’ve got to have great finishes – and a lot of luck – to get back to the top.” Second fastest during Wednesday’s test was John Andretti in the #14 VB Ford with a lap around the fast track in 30.07 seconds (184.370mph). On the Busch side of the garage, Boston Reid led the unofficial speed chart wit a lap of 31.00 seconds (178.839 mph).
    Unofficial Speed Results
    NEXTEL Cup:
    #6-Martin – 30.00 seconds (184.800mph)
    #14-Andretti – 30.07 (184.370)
    #43-Green – 30.38 (182.488)
    #33-Earnhardt- 30.55 (181.473)
    #17-Kenseth – 30.55 (181.473)
    #02-Blaney – 30.58 (181.295)
    #45-Petty – 30.82 (179.883)
    #15-Waltrip – 31.04 (178.436)
    #1-Truex Jr.- 31.12 (178.149)
    #80-Yeley – 31.42 (176.448)
    #41-Mears – 32.03 (173.088)
    Busch:
    #87-Reid – 31.00 seconds (178.839 mph)
    #21-Bowyer – 31.27 seconds (177.295 mph)
    #41-Sorenson – 32.03 seconds (173.088 mph)
    #11-Menard – 31.73 seconds (174.724 mph)
    #96-Crosby – 33.76seconds (154.218 mph)
    The NASCAR drivers will return to Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend for the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500. Great seats still remain, and three-day tickets start at just $69. For more information, call the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211.(AMS PR)(10-21-2004)
  • Bush-Cheney ’04 launches NASCAR campaign UPDATE: Bush-Cheney ’04 Tuesday launched a two-day, four-state tour of NASCAR celebrities to help pull in the “NASCAR dad” vote in two weeks, the campaign said. Seven NASCAR drivers and figures — including Darrell Waltrip, Mark Martin, Bill Elliott, Jack Roush, Benny Parsons, Jeff Hammond and Eddie Wood — will appear in the battleground states of Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania at 14 separate events, the campaign said. The campaign also announced it had received endorsements from nine of the Nextel Cup Series Top 10 drivers, as well as from NASCAR President Mike Helton and “countless NASCAR heroes.”(Washington Times /UPI)(10-19-2004)
    UPDATE: Nine Of The Nextel Cup Series Top 10 Drivers Have Endorsed The President. Drivers include: Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Elliott Sadler, Mark Martin, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Jimmie Johnson and Jeremy Mayfield.(George Bush site), NOTE: this is not being political, just pointing out news that was found out there about NASCAR and it’s drivers, if ya see something about Kerry and NASCAR, let me know, otherwise….chill out.(10-21-2004)
  • Gillette Young Guns – Subway 500 Notes: By picking Jimmie Johnson as the top Gillette Young Gun finisher in the UAW-GM 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on October 16th, Dana B. of Half Moon Bay, CA was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Dana picked Johnson as the highest finishing Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline. As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Johnson. This is the ninth time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Johnson.
    The Gillette Young Guns are 17 for 31 in the win column so far in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Earnhardt Jr. and Johnson each have five victories, followed by Kurt Busch with three victories, and Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman, who have two victories apiece. Through the 31st race of the season, Busch leads the NEXTEL Cup point standings over fellow Young Gun Earnhardt Jr. by just 24 points. Three other Gillette Young Guns are also in the top-10 and rank as follows – Kenseth (Seventh), Johnson (Eighth) and Newman (Ninth). Kevin Harvick, who is not in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup, is currently in the 13th position in the standings. For 27 of the 31 races run in 2004, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings have been led by four members of the Gillette Young Guns. While Kurt Busch has currently led for five weeks, fellow Young Gun Dale Earnhardt Jr. led for 10 weeks overall and Jimmie Johnson led for nine weeks. Busch’s Roush Racing teammate Matt Kenseth also led for four weeks.(Alan Taylor Communications)(10-21-2004)
  • Update on Sprint Car Driver injured at LMS: Jimmy Weller III, injured in a USAC sprint car event at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Wednesday night, Oct. 13, remains in the Intensive Care Unit of Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, but his condition continues to improve daily. Weller, 18, of Liberty, Ohio, suffered severe head trauma in the accident. He remains heavily sedated, but is awake and, according to his family, is responding to commands. He is still breathing with the assistance of a ventilator, but his breathing has improved considerably and doctors hope to remove the ventilator in the next day or two.(LMS PR)(10-21-2004)


    October 20, 2004

  • Sadler’s Pit Crew Wins Charlotte Event; Donates Prize Money: Elliott Sadler’s pit crew scored its seventh win of the season in the weekly McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade by taking top honors in Saturday night’s UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway near Charlotte. Sadler’s crew is donating its $20,000 first-place prize money from Charlotte to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and to the Autism Society of America. Each charity will receive $10,000. “This weekend I was told the guys are going to donate the winnings to the Susan G. Komen Foundation and to the Autism Society of America,” said Sadler. “Both of these charities are very close to Dale Jarrett’s and my hearts, so we are proud the team decided to donate their prize money to two great causes.” The chase for the McDonald’s/POWERade season championship is shaping up to be a battle between Sadler’s crew and the No. 8 crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr., which finished second in Charlotte. With five Nextel Cup races remaining, Sadler’s crew has a 10-point lead over Earnhardt’s crew – 1115 to 1105. Lurking in third is Kurt Busch’s crew with 1086 points. Sadler’s Combos Ford spent the least amount of time on Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s pit road – 406.582 seconds. Earnhardt Jr.’s Budweiser Chevrolet followed with a time of 421.810. Jeff Burton’s No. 30 AOL Chevy was third at 439.302. Sadler’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Darryl Lockyer (front-tire changer), Kevin Hall (front-tire carrier), Dave Smith (rear-tire changer/car chief), Lance Hanna (rear-tire carrier), Rodney Fetters (jackman), Preston Cordell (gas man) and Jay Thompson (catch can). The team’s crew chief is Todd Parrott.(DMF Commications PR), for the Top 10 at Charlotte, winner each week and season standings, see my Pit Crew News page. For past resultss, see my 2004 Past Pit Crew News page.(10-20-2004)
  • Bootie takes over #0 Crew Chief Gig: Haas CNC Racing announced today the appointment of Robert (Bootie) Barker as crew chief of the No. 0 NetZero Chevrolet beginning at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Barker, who has been leading the No. 00 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the NASCAR Busch Series all season, will swap roles with current Cup crew chief Bill Ingle. Starting in Atlanta, Ingle will lead the Busch Series team for the remainder of the 2004 season. Both Ingle and Barker will remain in their current positions for this weekend’s racing at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and Memphis (Tenn.) Motorsports Park. “It makes sense to bring Bootie on board at this point to get ahead for next year,” stated Ward Burton, driver of the NetZero Chevrolet. “I have a lot of respect for the job that Bill has done for us. He took over in a difficult situation and has worked hard to make this team better. That said, I’m also looking forward to working with Bootie. He has developed a strong Busch Series program for Haas CNC Racing and has led the team to a lot of success. Our paths have crossed before and I’ve seen what he can do, so I’m excited to have the chance to work with him at Haas CNC Racing.”(NetZero Racing Site)(10-20-2004)
  • Ford Exec goes to Roush: Roush Racing announced today that former Ford marketing executive Torrey Galida has joined Roush Racing as its senior vice-president of marketing. Galida will assume leadership roles within a multiple of marketing based activities engaged in by Roush Racing as part of the organization’s long-term strategy of maintaining and enhancing Roush Racing’s leadership position in the motorsports entertainment marketplace. Galida will report to Geoff Smith, president of Roush Racing.(Ford Racing site)(10-20-2004)


    October 19, 2004

  • Baldwin Wins WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race: #9-Kasey Kahne may not have won the UAW-GM Quality 500, but his impressive run gave every indication that his first win isn’t too far away. The rookie sensation dominated the action with veteran poise, leading an outstanding 207 laps before a blown right-front tire prematurely ended his day. Even though his quest for Victory Lane was prolonged, race fans recognized that Kahne undoubtedly had the car to beat and rewarded his crew chief, Tommy Badlwin, as the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race.
    Nearly 35% of the fans who voted on www.WYPALL.com thought Baldwin deserved the award, despite not finishing the race. “Tommy (Baldwin) may not have won, but he was the class of the field,” commented race fan James Douglas. “The only thing slowing down his car was caution flags. It was a heart breaker to see a car that good have to leave the race early.”
    “Tommy (Baldwin) nailed the setup,” said WYPALL Wipers spokesman Robbie Reiser. “There were about three or four cars that were fighting for second place, but everyone knew that the 9 car was going to win. It’s a shame that they blew a tire. Had it not been for that, you’d have seen those guys in Victory Lane. It’s just a matter of time before they shake their bad luck and finally win a race.”
    Tony Eury, Sr. remains in first place in the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief Challenge with nine wins. Chad Knaus, Tommy Baldwin and Robbie Loomis are tied for second place with four wins. Robbie Reiser and Matt Borland stand in fourth place with two wins. Pat Tryson, Larry Carter, Lee McCall, Donnie Wingo, Phillipe Lopez, Ryan Pemberton, and Pete Rondeau are tied for fifth place, each with one win. The crew chief with the most weekly wins at the end of the season will be named WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and receive $10,000.00.(S.M.C. 500 PR)(10-19-2004)
  • Truex Jr. to attempt Atlanta: Martin Truex, Jr. will attempt his first NASCAR Nextel Cup Series start in the Bass Pro Shops/MBNA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday, October 31, 2004. Truex, Jr. will drive the #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. This will be his first Nextel Cup Series start if he qualifies for the race on the 1.5-mile track. His previous attempt was at New Hampshire International Speedway in September, where qualifying was cancelled by NASCAR due to rain [Note: Truex Jr. subbed for Dale Earnhardt Jr. at NHIS in July, but was not credited with a start or points as per the rules]. “I think every driver’s ultimate goal is to race in the Nextel Cup Series,” Truex, Jr. said. “I would like to thank Teresa Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and Bass Pro Shops for giving me this opportunity.” Currently leading the NASCAR Busch Series standings in his first full year of driving for Chance 2 Motorsports, Truex, Jr. will be carrying some very familiar colors on his car. Bass Pro Shops has been the primary sponsor for 18 Busch Series races for Truex, Jr. and the Chance 2 team this season.
    Richard “Slugger” Labbe, a Daytona 500 winning crew chief, will serve as crew chief on the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops car, with Kevin “Bono” Manion, Truex’s regular crew chief on the Busch car, making calls on pit road during the race. A major catalog and Internet retailer, Bass Pro Shops, headquartered in Springfield, MO, currently has 23 locations across the United States and attracts some 66 million visitors a year. Stores in Las Vegas, NV and Harrisburg, PA are also scheduled to open this year with more locations planned for 2005 and 2006.(DEI PR)(10-19-2004)
  • Slugger to the #40? UPDATE: Richard “Slugger” Labbe, who crewed Michael Waltrip to two Daytona 500 victories before stepping down from that crew-chief spot at Dale Earnhardt Inc. this past Wednesday, is under consideration for a possible job next season working with Sterling Marlin at Chip Ganassi’s, according to team sources.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-18-2004)
    UPDATE: Labbe was interviewed on XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 144 and was at Atlanta testing with Martin Truex Jr. and said he was happy in his new role and it was his choice to step down.(10-19-2004)
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. Day in Miami:
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. visits South Florida on Wednesday, October 20 for the proclamation of “Dale Earnhardt Jr. Day” in Miami-Dade County, the South Florida unveiling of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Trophy, and to preview Ford Championship Weekend, Nov. 18-21 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. That evening, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be honored at a VIP Party on South Beach.(Homestead-Miami Speedway PR)(10-18/19-2004)
  • Engine Builders Combine Forces: Peter Guild, President of Pro-Motor Engines, and Mark Smith, President of Tri-Star Motorsports, announced the merger of their companies. This new alliance will combine the knowledge and technical expertise of two of the top independent engine building staffs in order to better serve the growing demand for quality racing and corporate engine development in the NASCAR, Grand-Am and manufacturer communities. The collaboration will provide the best machinery and resources of both companies under one roof. This partnership will operate as Pro-Motor Engines and conduct business from Pro-Motor’s existing facility in Mooresville. Pro-Motor Engines has a rich history of supplying engines to many of the top NASCAR and road racing teams. Founded in Elk Grove Village, IL in 1975, Pro-Motor moved to North Carolina in 1989 and quickly became one of the most successful independent engine builders, winning 12 NASCAR Winston Cup races including the prestigious Brickyard 400 with Ricky Rudd in 1997. Tri-Star Motorsports has been supplying engines to racing competitors since 1989, achieving success in all levels of NASCAR. Tri-Star has won numerous pole awards in the Cup, Busch & Truck series, including the coveted pole for the 1994 Daytona 500 with rookie driver Loy Allen, Jr. In addition, Tri-Star has recorded 8 Craftsman Truck Series wins and 2 Craftsman Truck Series Championships with IWX Racing in 2002 and 2003.(BGNRacing.com)(10-19-2004)
  • 2005 Drive for Diversity testing drivers: Eighteen drivers are participating in a two-day combine in Virginia as NASCAR looks for participants in its 2005 Drive for Diversity program. The program aims at increasing the number of minority drivers and crew members in racing. The combine is being held through today at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, VA. At the combine, the invitees go through interviews and participate in practice, qualifying and intermediate runs in Late Model Stock Cars.
    Five drivers who were part of the original Drive for Diversity class are being joined by the others seeking spots in the program in 2005. The inaugural five include Reggie Primus (Kannapolis, NC), Morty Buckles (Stone Mountain, GA), Bruce Driver (Pennington, NJ), Allison Duncan (Cornelius, NC) and Joe Henderson (Franklin, TN). Others participating: Becca Anderson (Lincoln, DE), Brianne Cronrath (Fleetwood, PA), Sondi Eden (Crawfordsville, IN), Michael Gallegos (Wheat Ridge, CO), Jesus Hernandez (Fresno, CA), Lloyd Mack (Los Angeles), Darin Martinez-Stahl (Sacramento, CA), Alison Quick (Redding, IA), James Reed (St. Louis), Jesse Salazar (San Antonio), Terri Williams (Emporia, VA) and Andy Winstead (Mount Pleasant, SC). Tommy Lane of Charlotte, who was part of the Drive for Diversity crew member program this year and has been working for Score Motorsports, also was invited to the combine.(Greensville News), more about the program at www.drivefordiversity.com and some past news on my Racing Schools/Jobs page.(10-19-2004)
  • Early TV Ratings for Saturday Night UPDATE up 14%: The Yankees and Red Sox hit the mound on Saturday (Oct. 16) night, bringing enough fans to their television sets to give FOX a 7.9 rating/14 share for the night among households. NBC was second with a 4.9/9, followed by ABC, 4.7/9, and CBS, 4.3/8. FOX also took the title among 18 to 49-year-olds with a 4.5, beating NBC’s 3.0, ABC’s 2.5 and CBS’ 1.9.
    At 8 p.m., FOX started things off with a 7.4/14 while NBC gave over its night to NASCAR [at Lowe’s Motor SPeedway]. ABC revisited one of their sitcom families with the movie “Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers,” averaging a 4.7/9 from 8 to 10 p.m. CBS tried to drum up more viewers with a reairing of Thursday night’s “Survivor,” 2.7/5. FOX shot up to an 8.5/15 at 9 p.m., while NBC and ABC tied for second. CBS rose for the hour, but still came in last place with a rerun of “Cold Case,” 4.5/8. CBS made up for things at 10 p.m., when “48 Hours Mystery” won the hour with a 5.6/11. NBC had its best hour of the night, pulling in a 5.1/10, and ABC finished things off with a repeat of last Sunday’s “Desperate Housewives,” 4.9/9.(Zap2It.com)
    2003 early ratings in 2003 for the race were 4.5 overnight rating and 8 share and the final was 4.3 rating and 8 share.
    2002 final figures for the daytime Sunday running of the race were 5.0/10.(more on my TV Ratings pages)(10-17-2004)
    UPDATE: NBC Sports’ coverage of NASCAR Nextel Cup racing from Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte earned an impressive 4.9 national rating/9 share (7:14-11:36 p.m. ET), a 14% increase over last year’s 4.3/8 (7:34-11:01), according to Nielsen Media Research. The rating was especially significant considering the broadcast faced stiff competition from MLB playoff and college football telecasts. In the four years NBC has broadcast this race the rating has increased 88%, from a 2.6 in 2000.
    Through 14 telecasts, NASCAR Nextel Cup coverage on NBC and TNT has produced a 4.3 national rating, even with last year and especially significant considering hurricanes hampered ratings in multiple key metered markets for two races.
    The race built its audience to a peak of 6.0/11 from 11-11:30pm/et when Jimmie Johnson took the checkered flag just in front of his teammate Jeff Gordon.(NBC PR)(10-19-2004)
  • Any TV Time is Good TV Time: Eric Wright , vice president of research and development for Joyce Julius, a firm that analyzes sponsor value in sports, said companies can get their money’s worth in NASCAR, even if their race car is not doing well. Controversy can help, too, he said. Although the exposure Robby Gordon ‘s sponsor earned during his bumping controversy at Loudon, N.H., was negative, it still put the product on television screens. “If what’s happening is a hot-button item, we know sponsors cringe and prefer not to have it,” Wright said. “But there is some afterlife that once the sting wears off you still get some publicity and maybe it’s not the worst situation to be in.”(St Petersburg Times)(10-19-2004)
  • Group wants FCC to fine NBC: the Parents Television Council, an advocacy group to protect children against sex, violence and profanity in entertainment, filed an indecency complaint against NBC with the Federal Communications Commission. It wants the FCC to levy a fine against every NBC affiliate that aired the interview [with Dale Earnhardt Jr. after winning Talladega].(Tampa Tribune)(10-19-2004)
  • Bobby Labonte to run first Truck race since 1996: Bobby Labonte, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Chevy, will attempt to start his second career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event, almost eight years to the day of his first. Labonte started 24th and finished 34th in the #77 Rotary Lift Chevrolet on Oct. 26, 1996 in the GM Goodwrench 300 at Phoenix International Raceway. Labonte completed only 31 of the 186 laps after a valve problem ended his day.(JGR PR)(10-19-2004)
  • Rookie of the Year Points: for years, have been calculating how the Rookie of the Year [ROTY[ award is calculated. Every year until thjis year, I was pretty much on, maybe a point here of there. This year, my calculations are way off what Raybestos sends out and NASCAR sends out, if fact, even they differ. Why? no idea, unless the rules changed unannounced sometime this season, I used to rules found at the beginning of the 2004 season. None of the systems differ in who will win or is leading by a huge margin, #9-Kasey Kahne. Anyhow questions go unanswered, but been asked by readers, why the differences..no idea, here are the three standings……
    Driver Car# Jayski NASCAR Raybestos
    Kasey Kahne 9 302 294 294
    Brian Vickers 25 209 201 206
    Brendan Gaughan 77 207 206 200
    Scott Wimmer 22 205 200 201
    Scott Riggs 10 193 191 193
    Johnny Sauter 09 134 133 127

    see my 2004 Rookie of the Year page for standings, rules and news.(10-19-2004)

  • Darlington Testing Schedule for Next Week: The testing schedule for next Tuesday, October 26, includes confirmed teams and drivers of:
    DEI (team confirmed, driver or drivers unspecified); #18-Bobby Labonte; #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr.; #0-Ward Burton; #16-Greg Biffle, #17-Matt Kenseth and #30-Jeff Burton, along with Biffle’s #60 Busch team.(Darlington Raceway PR)(10-19-2004)
  • Martins Tests at Atlanta on Monday, more on Tues: Three of NASCAR’s frontrunners for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and NASCAR Busch series championships tested Monday at Atlanta Motor Speedway in preparation for the Oct. 29-31 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 weekend. Leading the way on the unofficial speed chart was NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Championship contender Mark Martin. Martin, who is currently fifth in the NEXTEL Cup standings, piloted his #6 Viagra Ford around the 1.54-mile quad-oval in 30.04 seconds (184.554 mph). Also testing with Martin were the top two drivers in the NASCAR Busch championship chase. Although #5-Kyle Busch currently trails leader #8-Martin Truex Jr. by 144 points, he was a step ahead during Monday’s test, gunning his #5 Lowe’s Chevrolet around the fastest speedway in NASCAR in 30.23 seconds (183.394 mph). Truex was a tick behind at 30.35 seconds (182.669 mph). Testing will continue this week with Martin, Busch, Truex Jr., Matt Kenseth, Reed Sorenson, Casey Mears, Carl Edwards, John Andretti, J.J. Yeley, Kyle Petty, Justin Ashburn, Jeff Green, Hermie Sadler, and Boston Reid all scheduled to test. All tests sessions are closed to the public.(AMS PR)(10-19-2004)
  • Rubbermaid donates to Victory Junction: Rubbermaid Commercial Product donated over $10,000 of its quality products to the Victory Junction Gang Camp Saturday (Oct. 16) at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. In front of nearly 150 of Rubbermaid Commercial Products’ guests, the presentation was made to NASCAR driver and Camp co-founder Kyle Petty by Rubbermaid Commercial Products President Larry McIsaac prior to the start of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race at LMS. “I can’t tell you how thrilled we are to have Rubbermaid as one of our camp partners,” said Petty, who, along with his wife Pattie, founded the not-for-profit organization in honor of their late son Adam. “We have so many needs at the camp and these products are so valuable to us. We are thankful to RCP for their willingness to help our cause. They make incredible, state-of-the-art products and I guarantee you we will put them all to great use.” Some of the items donated include farm and tractor carts, wheelbarrows, Brute totes, Brute dollies, step stools and much more. Rubbermaid Commercial Products (RCP), headquartered in Winchester, VA, continues to develop innovative products and system solutions in the categories of food service, cleaning, safety, material handling, waste and agriculture. RCP is an avid supporter of NASCAR driver Kurt Busch and his Roush Racing team, which has been sponsored by Newell Rubbermaid and its brands since 2001. For more information on Rubbermaid Commercial Products, visit the website at rubbermaidcommercial.com, and to find out how you can support the Victory Junction Gang Camp, go to victoryjunction.org.(RCP PR)(10-19-2004)
  • Sad News – Driver Deaths: John Dexter Moore, the 15-year-old son of a popular Stockton 99 Speedway driver, died Saturday after losing control of his 2003 Chevrolet Monte Carlo racer and crashing into a wall at the speedway. The teenager was “just a superstar beyond his years,” his father, Western Late Model division driver John Moore, said Sunday. The younger Moore was a champion motocross racer who won titles throughout California and Texas, including several at Prairie City in Rancho Cordova. He was a veteran of more than 1,000 motorcycle races and picked up go-kart racing a couple of years ago. It was the second death in the 58-year history of Stockton 99 Speedway and the first in which a driver was behind the wheel. Moore was driving a car his dad purchased from Eric Schmidt of Roseville, who dominated in the racer at Stockton 99 in 2003. Moore’s parents and grandfather were at the speedway when the accident occurred, according to Nelida Stone, a spokeswoman for the San Joaquin County sheriff’s office. The teenager’s father and grandfather were burned pulling him from the wreckage, which caught on fire. The elder John Moore suffered burns on his face and arms, and the boy’s grandfather was burned on his arms. The teenager’s dad has become a fan favorite as a regular driver at Stockton 99. Moore finished third in points this season and scored his most recent main-event victory on Aug. 21. Moore also posted a career-best fifth-place finish in the NASCAR Grand National West Series race at the track on Aug. 14. Moore also has helped sponsor races at Stockton 99. Moore was strapped in with the required five-point harness, helmet and fire suit, witnesses said. The only other death at the track occurred in September 1993.(Stockton 99 site)
    AND Michael Bradshaw was in the last lap of the “open wheel feature race” at Lake Cumberland Speedway Saturday night [Oct 9th] when his car hit the wall. Paramedics pulled him from the car and tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate him before taking him to Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. A spokesman for the Pulaski County Coroner’s Office said that Bradshaw’s death was due to severe coronary disease, not from the collision with the wall. Bradshaw apparently suffered a fatal heart attack while driving in the race, and witness said that he slumped over before the crash. Bradshaw was a machinist employed by Cornett’s Racing Engines in Somerset and had been racing for 19 years.(Somerset/Pulaski News Journal)(10-19-2004)


    October 18, 2004

  • Dale Jr.’s appeal to be heard Monday – UPHELD: The National Stock Car Racing Commission will hear Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s appeal on his 25-point penalty at 11:00am Monday at an undisclosed location within a two-hour drive of Charlotte, N.C., according to a team official. Richie Gilmore, director of competition at Dale Earnhardt Inc., said he and Earnhardt will present the appeal. Gilmore says that if the commission rules against Earnhardt, the team does not plan to appeal to the National Stock Car Racing Commissioner, whose decision is final. “I think we decided whatever happens here, we’re done with it,” Gilmore said Thursday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “Our focus is on the chase right now, and we just need to get back to racing and let this get past us and not let the 25 points bother us if we lose.” The commission is a review board independent of NASCAR. The chairman, George Silbermann, is employed by NASCAR. Since Silbermann’s appointment to chairman in November 1999, the commission has upheld 37 of the 53 appeals it has heard. The commission reduced a penalty 11 times. The commission overturned a NASCAR decision four times. Once, the commission increased a penalty.(Roanoke Times)(10-15/17-2004)
    UPHELD: The National Stock Car Racing Commission has upheld NASCAR’s $10,000 fine and 25-point penalty levied against Nextel Cup driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. for using profanity in a live, post-race interview following the October 10 race at Talladega.(Thartsracin.com)(10-18-2004)
  • Graf to run 2nd BAM car at Martinsville: Klaus Graf, and the #59 BAM Racing Dodge head to the .526-mile Martinsville Speedway, for Sunday’s Subway 500. The German native Graf will be attempting to start the second Nextel Cup race of his career. After this weekend, he will also run the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series finale at Homestead for BAM. In his inaugural ARCA start, and his first on an oval, Graf led late in the race before finishing third at the Nashville Super Speedway. Earlier this month, Graf qualified seventh at the Talladega ARCA event and ran well before being caught up in another car’s crash at Talladega, Ala. In his only start in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, Graf started from the 38th position and finished a solid 17th at Infineon Raceway in June. He was an obvious contender at Watkins Glen, but qualifying was rained out. Graf, 32, is the first German-born driver to compete in NASCAR’s top series. He lives in Dornhan, Germany, which is located in Germany’s Black Forrest region. Graf trained to race Formula One in Europe, but switched to sports cars instead. After winning the 1993 German Formula Ford Championship, 1993 Austrian National Championship, and 1997 Rookie of the Year in the Porsche Carrera Cup, Graf raced in the American Le Mans series competing in the Le Man 24-hour race and the 12-hours of Sebring.(Williams Company PR)(10-18-2004)
  • Another RCR Swap in the works? UPDATE 2: hearing that Richard Childress Racing could swap entrie teams again, with the current #30 driver, Jeff Burton and crew going to the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy, currently driven by Robby Gordon. Cingular Wireless can stay in the sport, only if they stay on the #31 Chevy with RCR. The crew of the #31 could go to the #30 with either Gordon [unlikely] or another driver [Ricky Craven? Dave Blaney?], have hear that AOL may or may not be back in 2005, but Richard Childress has said before, if AOL opts not to to return, he has another option for a sponsor.
    AND Richard Childress said that he would be making announcements soon, possibly by the end of October. In the Nextel Cup Series, RCR has Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton signed with multi-year deals, but Childress will have to make the decision whether to retain Robby Gordon. Childress is also working to make sure AOL returns as Burton’s sponsor in 2005. “We’re probably going to make those announcements around Atlanta or a little after,” Childress said. “We pretty much have everything in place. You know, we are going to make adjustments all throughout or organization. We’re going to make a few adjustments, everything from Cup to Busch.”(NASCAR.com)(10-8-2004)
    AND II: hearing if AOL doesn’t come back to the #30 car, the sponsor could be Motorola.(10-9-2004)
    UPDATE: Several Nextel Cup teams – Roush Racing and Richard Childress Racing among them – are primed to sign sponsorship deals with hard-liquor companies, including Diageo and Jack Daniels.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-15-2004)
    UPDATE 2: Expect Richard Childress to make more changes before the start of the 2005 season. An announcement the last week of October at Atlanta should clarify the situation, at least partially. Jeff Burton could move from the #30 car to the #31.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(10-18-2004)
  • So..what happened with Spencer and Gaughan? ……with only 30 miles to go, #4-Jimmy Spencer [running 14th on the lead lap] and #77-Brendan Gaughan crashed. “We had a tire going down,” Gaughan explained. “And I wasn’t going to make it in the pits, and I was trying to get down out of the way, and I thought I was on the bottom. Then, Blam. It was probably my fault. Maybe I didn’t get far enough out of the way. Sorry for Jimmy. He had a good run going. If it was my fault, I apologize.”(Winston Salem Journal)(10-18-2004)
  • Personnel Chnages at JGR? Pink slips were handed out to several crew members at Joe Gibbs Racing last week, leading some to wonder where the manpower to run three [#11,#18,#20] teams in 2005 will come from.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(10-18-2004)
  • First sweep at Charlotte since 1986: #48-Jimmie Johnson became the sixth driver to sweep a season’s races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and the first since 1986 when the late Dale Earnhardt won both. There otheres:
    1975, Richard Petty
    1974, David Pearson
    1971, Bobby Allison
    1965, Fred Lorenzen.(10-18-2004)

    .

  • Pilot Truck Driver Challenge News: The Pilot Truck Driver Challenge’s chicane course was designed to put hauler drivers to the test. And that it did, as drivers worked through a course of tight turns, pin point stops and narrow reversing maneuvers. As the entire Challenge, sponsored by Pilot Travel Centers, has been centered on safe and responsible truck driving, the drivers had the opportunity to display the skills that make them the champions in their profession. At the end of the day, Jim Baldwin, transport driver for the # 29 GM Goodwrench race team, out-drove his peers to win this important category of the challenge. The soft spoken Baldwin only narrowly bettered runner-up Bill ‘Stumpy’ Lewis by five points.
    The intensity of all participants was observed as each paced the course and eyed distances, before carefully driving their 80 foot mobile garages through the sixth category of the challenge. Starting with a maximum of 500 points, each driver was deducted points for rule violations. Five officials carefully observed each truck and penalized for touching cones, hitting obstacles and distances from stopping points, measured down to the inch. The Pilot Truck Driver Challenge officials have already assessed the drivers in several categories. Updated CDL’s and Medical Examiner’s certificate were checked to ensure that all drivers had maintained these at DOT standards. Accurate log books have been presented upon request. Fire marshals have checked for proper equipment and date certification. Random inspections on the maintenance and cleanliness of each hauler have been conducted throughout the year. Each driver has displayed a healthy commitment to the challenge and to SAFETY, resulting in an extremely tight competition. With only two categories remaining before the champion will be crowded, the drivers are now scrambling to keep their trucks, and themselves, in tip-top shape. The eventual winner will receive a grand prize of $50,000. Fans can monitor the progress of each driver on the challenge web site www.pilottruckchallenge.com.(SMC PR)(10-18-2004)

October 17, 2004

  • So who drives the #6 in 2006? after Mark Martin leaves Cup racing in 2005, who will replace him as the driver? Jon Wood, the son of Wood Brothers Racing co-owner Eddie Wood, is among the drivers being considered as Mark Martin’s replacement for the #6 Roush Racing Nextel Cup entry in 2006. Martin, 45, announced on Thursday that the 2005 season would be his last running a full Nextel Cup schedule. Roush Racing president Geoff Smith said the organization isn’t close to naming a replacement, but mentioned Wood as a possibility. Smith also said Wood, who drives for Roush Racing in the Craftsman Truck Series [#50 Ford], would be allowed to pursue an opportunity to drive in the Busch Series for another Ford team that he declined to name [ST Motorsports, see story on my Busch Series site]. That would allow the organization to evaluate Wood and at the same time keep him under contract with Roush. Wood’s truck ride is without a sponsor. “We’re very much keeping an eye on Jon,” Smith said. “We’ve got a lot of money invested in Jon we haven’t recouped yet.” Smith also acknowledged that Martin could team with another driver and split the Cup schedule in 2006. He said Martin would not run a part-time schedule alone because it would be difficult to put together a first-class team not competing for a championship. Smith said the most likely scenario now is that Martin will drive a full-time schedule in the truck series.(The State)
    AND Jack Roush said the driver and sponsor status of the #6 Viagra Ford is uncertain after Mark Martin’s 2005 retirement. One candidate is Jon Wood, who has struggled to a 15th-place ranking while racing an unsponsored Roush Racing entry in the Craftsman Truck Series this season. Roush is allowing Wood to test with other Busch teams but still would be interested in bringing the Stuart, Va., native back into the fold if he leaves.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(10-17-2004)
  • Bill Elliott sponsor for some 2005 races? UPDATE: hearing the announcement on Saturday from Evernham Motorsports is about Bill Elliott being sponsored by Stanley Tools for four races, a California race, a Texas race, Indy and the fall race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and that Stanley tools will be an associate sponsor on the #9 and #19 cars. Currently Mac Tools is an associate sponsor for the teams and is owned by Stanley Works which also owns Stanley Tools.(10-15-2004)
    UPDATE: Evernham Motorsports announced Saturday that Stanley Tools will sponsor Bill Elliott in four Cup races next season. Elliott will race at California, Texas, Indianapolis and Charlotte. Evernham says he hopes to have Elliott drive 10 to 12 races next season.(Roanoke Times)
    AND Team owner Ray Evernham plans to have three full-time cars by 2006. The former crew chief of Jeff Gordon already has two full-time cars on his team — Chase contender Jeremy Mayfield in the #19 Dodge and Rookie of the Year contender Kasey Kahne in the #9 Dodge. Veteran Bill Elliott has been running a part-time schedule in the #91 Dodge. Elliott also will run only a partial schedule next year — 10 to 12 races. Whether that will be his last season in Cup racing still is undetermined. Elliott will be 50 at the end of the 2005 season. Regardless, Evernham plans to have the #91 run a full schedule in 2006 and beyond.(Miami Herald)(10-17-2004)
  • Chevy Clinches Manu Championship: #48-Jimmie Johnson’s victory in the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway clinched the 2004 Manufacturers’ Championship for Chevrolet in NASCAR’s premier division. With five races left in the season, Chevrolet collected its 28th Manufacturers’ crown and the 24th of NASCAR’s Modern Era, which began in 1972. A total of five different drivers have contributed to the 18 victories in 31 races thus far this season that brought Chevrolet its 24th crown. Chevy drivers who posted wins during the season included Dale Earnhardt Jr. (5), Jeff Gordon (5), Jimmie Johnson (5), Tony Stewart (2), and Joe Nemechek (1). The 2004 Manufacturers’ Championship continues Chevrolet’s dominance of North America’s most popular motorsports series. In fact, Chevrolet’s nearest competitor has won just nine times. Since 1972, GM Racing has earned 26 of the 33 Manufacturers’ titles contested, with Chevrolet collecting 24 of those for an impressive .75 winning percentage (Buick has won the title twice).(GM PR), for the standings, drivers who were the highest for each manu each race, manufacturer wins, see my 2004 Manufacturers Championship page.
    AND unless my research and calculations are off, if Chevy wins next race or a race in the future before Ford, Chevy will tie with Ford for the most wins in the Cup series with 553.(10-17-2004)


    October 16, 2004

  • Johnson wins at LMS; sweeps both Cup races: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the UAW-GM 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, sweeping both 2004 Cup races, but not quite as dominatig as the Coca-Cola 600 when he led 334 of the 400 laps. #9-Kasey Kahne pretty much dominated the first 400 miles, leading 207 laps before a right front tire blew out, sending Kahne into the wall. While the win helped Johnson gain a few points, #97-Kurt Busch, who was involved in a lap one accident with minor damage, slowly worked his way thru the field and finshed 4th, maintaining a slim 24 points lead over #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. [which could change pending Dale Jr’s penalty appeal on Monday]. #24-Gordon, who was involved in two early wrecked, came back and finished 2nd with a beat up car, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., after starting 25th, finished 3rd, followed by Busch and last weeks winner, #01-Joe Nemechek. There were 11 caution flags for 53 laps and 18 lead changes among 9 drivers.
    For race results, see:
    Jayski’s Charlotte Race Results/Awards page
    Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Standings
    ThatsRacin.com
    MotorsportsOne
    NASCAR.com.(10-16-2004)
  • Tyson Foods Partners with the Crew Chief Club to Sponsor Pit Crew Championship: Tyson Foods, Inc. will proudly ‘power’ the pit crews behind stock car drivers with the creation of the 2005 National Pit Crew Championship Powered by Tyson. Additionally, Tyson will sponsor the 2005 ‘National Motorsports Team of the Year,’ culminating in a year-end awards ceremony that recognizes pit crews and teams and awards up to a half million dollars. 30 Cup and 10 Busch teams have been invited to participate in the 2005 “National Pit Crew Championship Powered by Tyson.”  Pit crews will compete against each other for the fastest pit stop at the event.  The competition will take place at the Pit Instruction and Training (PIT) facility in Mooresville, North Carolina on May 9, 2005.  The event will air on the SPEED Channel.
    The 2005 National Motorsports Team of the Year Powered by Tyson is a season long contest with voting and rankings to determine the 2005 National Motorsports Team.  The winning team will be chosen by Cup Crew Chiefs and other motorsports personalities, with additional votes coming from fans and Tyson team members. Tyson recently unveiled a $75 million fully integrated, multi-channel marketing communications campaign with the tagline, “Powered by Tyson” From extensive consumer research, a truth emerged: protein=energy=power. Tyson’s new strategy recognizes the company’s position as the premiere provider of protein by pointing to the role meat protein plays in the diet.
    “The ‘Powered by Tyson’ theme resonates well with the Crew Chief Club sponsorship as Tyson is powering the people that power NASCAR,” said Bob Corscadden, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Tyson Foods, Inc. “We are thrilled to be a part of one of the most popular and exciting sports in the world.”
    “We’re very excited to have Tyson sponsor our events which were created to recognize all the pit crews and teams who work so hard every week,” said Larry McReynolds, former crew chief and now FOX Sports television analyst. “These guys need all the power they can get to accomplish their goals week in and out, and Tyson helps to provide them with that source of protein power.(PR), mo word on how or if this will effect the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERADE.(10-16-2004)
  • Roush to be honored in his hometown: Adams County [Ohio] native Jack Roush will again be honored at his hometown of Manchester, OH on Sunday, Oct. 17. A full day of activities are being planned with a cruise-in, auto parade, food, games, raffles and split the pot. All proceeds will benefit the Manchester Christmas Light Fund. The events start at noon with a home-cooked meal with Roush at the community building. Also at noon, a fall festival honoring Jack will start at the River Barn on U.S. 52 where all the activities of the day will be held. At that time, there will be a gospel lunch, a cruise-in and games for the children. Line-up for the automobile parade, with Roush as Grand Marshall, is at 1 p.m. at Brown Hill Road. The parade will proceed down Jack Roush Way, west on U.S. 52 to the Riverbarn.
    The first annual Jack Roush Car Show will be held at the Riverbarn beginning at 8 a.m. with judging at 10:30 a.m. and trophies awarded at 11:15 a.m. Free dash plaques will be awarded to all show cars. Entry fee is $10.
    After the grand parade, Roush will host an autograph signing until 4 p.m. An auction, featuring many special race items, will begin at 3 p.m., at which time the winners of the car show will be announced as well as raffle winners.(People’s Defender)(10-16-2004)
  • Did ya know? Only once all year has the driver fastest in the final practice session gone on to win the race. Jeff Gordon did so at Infineon Raceway, who led all the practice sessions and won the pole for that race. (Gaston Gazette), see my 2004 Practice Page for links and who was the fastest each session, along with pole and race winners. The ‘jinx’ this week falls to #38-Elliott Sadler, who was fastest in Happy Hour practice.(10-16-2004)
  • Cool Cover: Ten men. Ten races. One goal. The Inaugural Chase For The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup is a virtual prizefight on wheels. It’s a no-punches-pulled 10-round fight-to-the-finish that makes the Thrilla in Manila look tame. The bell sounds for Round 5 this Saturday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Billed as “The Saturday Night Title Fight,” the UAW-GM Quality 500 is the race many feel will be most pivotal in the quest for motor racing’s most coveted championship.
    Motorsports artist Sam Bass has captured the urgency of the contest in his most recent illustration, aptly named “Title Fight!” This poignant composition will adorn the cover of the UAW-GM Quality 500 souvenir program-making it the 44th consecutive program cover Bass has designed for Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Due to popular demand, “Title Fight!” is also being offered to race fans as a fine art poster.”Title Fight!” fine art posters will be available race week at the Sam Bass Gallery, located within sight of Lowe’s Motor Speedway at 6104 Performance Drive, SW in Concord, NC. The artwork can also be purchased online at www.sambass.com.(10-16-2004)


    see a larger version
    at www.sambass.com

  • 1200 Races: #21 Wood Brothers Racing will be making its 1,200th Cup start tonight at Lowe’s Motor SPeedway when Ricky Rudd starts the race.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(10-16-2004)

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  • What’s Wrong with RCR? What’s wrong with Richard Childress Racing? To Kevin Harvick, driver of RCR’s #29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet, it’s simple. “Our engines are topping the wrong end of the list,” Harvick said. “That’s about it. That’s about all you need to say.”(NASCAR.com)(10-16-2004)
  • STP and the Petty’s Richard and Kyle Petty will be making an announcement at Lowe’s Motor Speedway Media Conference Room on Friday [Oct 15] at 3:30 pm. They will be announcing that long time sponsor STP and AutoZone will help raise money for the Victory Junction Gang Camp, and host a special STP Family Weekend.(10-15-2004)
    UPDATE: Long time Richard Petty sponsor STP has teamed up with AutoZone to announce a donation for up to $50,000 to the Petty Family’s Victory Junction Gang Camp. The donation, which is being made in celebration of STP’s 50th Anniversary, will allow STP and AutoZone to host a special “Family Weekend,” for children with a chronic or life-threatening illness, sometime in the Spring of 2005. Kyle and Richard Petty were on hand to help kick-off STP’s 50th Anniversary celebration in grand style, when they unveiled a special STP “Future’s Car” which will be the pace car in Kyle Petty’s Ride to Victory II charity ride. The Ride to Victory will take place on Sunday, October 17 leaving the Lowe’s Motor Speedway and concluding at the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, North Carolina. The STP future’s car and coinciding donation are two highlights of STP’s golden anniversary celebration. Money will be raised, in part, through sales of STP products at AutoZone stores during the month of November. For every bottle of STP sold at AutoZone stores in November, 50 cents will be donated to The Victory Junction Gang Camp, up to a goal of $50,000. Additionally, consumers who purchase two bottles of STP products at AutoZone will also be able to mail away and receive their choice of three limited edition STP/Petty die cast cars:
    · 1972 STP Car (Petty’s first #43 STP car victory)
    · 1984 STP Car (Petty’s final Victory)
    · 2004 STP Car (Pace car for Ride to Victory II)
    STP’s 50 years of business have been synonymous with NASCAR racing. In 1972 STP began making headlines in the racing world with the historic sponsorship of Petty and the No. 43 car. In 1979, Richard won his seventh NASCAR title, which put him in a class of his own, and also etched STP as an icon in the racing world. The STP logo returned to the #43 Dodge this season as an associate sponsor and will remain on the Jeff Green’s #43 Dodge car throughout the 2005.(Ketchum for STP PR)(10-16-2004)
  • Humpy steps in when ASA doesn’t pay purse: Not NASCAR, but….The debut of the American Speed Association at Lowe’s Motor Speedway may be over, but controversy remains. Reed Sorenson, 18, won the Aaron’s 99 Thursday night, but after the race, drivers and team owners were notified the sanctioning body did not have the money on hand to pay the more than $92,000 purse. Speedway president H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler stepped in and guaranteed the purse money to the teams that participated in the race, then after the race ended, he sent his track security officers and other workers to the ASA garage to secure the ASA’s hauler and other equipment as “collateral.” An ASA spokesman declined to comment on the situation. “We sent them the purse last week, which is normal practice, the sanctioning fee and all that and it’s customary and a long held practice to pay the purse as soon as the race is over,” Wheeler said. “When we found out (before Thursday night) they had not brought the purse with them, obviously the drivers were going to race. It was ASA’s responsibility to pay the purse and if they didn’t, somebody had to pay it, and that would be us.” As of Friday afternoon, Wheeler had not recovered any of the extra money and his track workers still held the ASA equipment. “I’ve know they have a tough time financially. I was hoping if I sent them the money, at least the purse would show up and it didn’t,” Wheeler said. “You can’t do that.”(ThatsRacing.com)(10-16-2004)
  • Charlotte Race Notes:
    —- Jimmie Johnson won the UAW-Quality 500, scoring his 11th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 106th career start. His last victory came at Pocono, 11 races ago.
    —- It is Johnson’s fifth victory in 2004.
    —- Johnson scored his third victory and sixth top-10 finish in seven races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
    —- Johnson won here in May and became only the sixth driver to score a sweep at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The last time a sweep occurred at Lowe’s was in 1986 by Dale Earnhardt.
    —- All 11 of Johnson’s victories have occurred on superspeedways.
    —- Johnson climbed from ninth to eighth in The Chase for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.
    —- Johnson led three times for 35 laps including the final 17. He did not lead the most laps.
    —- Kasey Kahne led four times for 207 laps, the most laps that Kahne has led in a single race in his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup career. He led the most laps for the second time in 2004.
    —- This was the 18th victory for Chevrolet. Dodge has nine and Ford has four. Chevrolet has clinched the 2004 Manufacturer’s Championship, the 28th time they have won the manufacturer’s championship. Notebook Items The Chase for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup
    —- With five races remaining in the Chase for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, 349 points separate first to 10th. The biggest margin is between third and fourth place where Jeff Gordon (third) leads Elliott Sadler by 83 points.
    —- Only two drivers in the top-10 in points changed positions at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
    —- All 10 drivers competing in the Chase for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup scored at least one victory in the first 26 races of the 2004 season. Busch, Newman, Earnhardt Jr., Nemechek and Johnson posted victories in the first five races of the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.
    —- Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kurt Busch are the only drivers to score top-10 finishes in the first five races in the Chase.
    —- Six of the 10 drivers in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup posted top-10 finishes in the 2004 UAW-GM Quality 500.
    —- Jeremy Mayfield lost 92 points to leader Kurt Busch in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, the biggest drop in the standings among the top-10 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Mayfield is now 349 points behind point leader Kurt Busch.
    —- Approximately $1 million will be paid to the driver who finishes 11th in the final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings – an increase of more than $400,000 from over one year ago. That includes a $250,000 bonus, which will be paid to the 11th-place finisher. Additionally, the 11th-place driver will also join the top-10 drivers on the stage at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Awards Ceremony in New York in December. Currently, Jamie McMurray holds the 11th-place position by 74 points over 12th-place Dale Jarrett.
    —- Jeff Gordon (second) scored his 21st top-10 finish of the season, the most of all drivers. It was his 15th top-10 finish in 24 races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
    —- Dale Earnhardt Jr. (third) scored his 20th top-10 finish in 2004. It was his sixth top-10 finish in 11 races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. This is his sixth top-10 finish in the last six races, the longest top-10 streak of his career.
    —- Kurt Busch (fourth) scored his 17th top-10 finish in 2004. It was his first top-10 finish in nine races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Busch has finished sixth or better in all five races in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and leads second-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 24 points.
    —- Joe Nemechek (fifth) scored his seventh top-10 finish in 2004, including four in the last five races. It was his third top-10 finish in 21 races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. This marked the first time in his 353-race career that he has scored back-to-back top-five finishes.
    —- Matt Kenseth (11th) has ranked among the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Top 10 66 straight races.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(10-16-2004)
  • Stock Car Fans – Rumblings – Charlotte: A crazy night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. First, we couldn’t make the first turn of the first lap without a pileup…..then it took us 13 laps till we finished one under green. It looked like Kasey Kahne was gonna run away and hide (at this point, we can only hope he broke just one mirror), but after he smacked the wall in turn 2 and fell out, it suddenly became anybody’s race. And that opened the door for Jimmie Johnson. For a guy who seems to know his way around this 1 1/2 miler named for his sponsor, he took tonight’s UAW-GM Quality 500 to become the 5th sweeper at Lowe’s. This was win #3 at LMS for Johnson, his 5th of 2004 (he joins Jeff Gordon & Dale Earnhardt Jr as tops in that category), and the 11th victory of his career (he’s tied with Kurt Busch & Ryan Newman for 46th all-time). This was win #127 for Hendrick Motorsports and their 10th of the season, marking the 5th time they’ve been in double digits in wins in their history (with a best of 14 in 1998). JJ will cash $191,450 from the over $4.9M in posted awards, and seeing as how he’s swept Pocono & Charlotte, you might want to keep an eye on him when we get to Darlington in 4 weeks (he won there in March).
    Jeff Gordon (2nd) had his best finish since he won at The Brickyard in August.
    Jeff Burton (9th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Bristol in August.
    STREAKIN….Dale Earnhardt Jr has 6 Top-10’s in a row.
    Kurt Busch has 5 Top-10’s in a row.
    Dale Jarrett has 4 Top-10’s in a row.
    Jamie McMurray has 8 Top-10’s in the last 9 races.
    Joe Nemechek has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Dale Jarrett (+33), followed by Jeff Burton (+26), Matt Kenseth (+25), Ricky Rudd (+25), Ward Burton (+24), Dale Earnhardt Jr (+23), and Jeff Gordon (+21). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Scott Riggs (-34), followed by Kasey Kahne (-30), Kevin Harvick (-29), Dave Blaney (-28), Brian Vickers (-24), and Michael Waltrip (-22).
    With five down and five to go in the “Chase” we see no real change this week. Dale Jr takes five points off Kurt Busch’s lead, but if we’re gonna see a real bite it’ll come Monday when he meets with the Commission in regards to his Talladega penalty. He’s now 24 points behind in 2nd as there is no change in the Top-7 of the order.B Jeremy Mayfield’s got a “Magic Number” of 14 (pretty high with five to to). That means if Kurt Busch runs 14th or better every week, Jeremy can’t catch him. Ryan Newman’s is now 9 and even with the win tonight, Jimmie Johnson went from 6 to 7.
    Once again the “Classic” points is where it’s at! Jeff Gordon still holds a one-point lead over Little E (think about what could be written about that every week!) and there was no change in the Top-13 in the “Classic” standings. Jeff Burton (19th to 17th) and Joe Nemechek (21st to 19th) made multi-position moves this week (Joe’s gained 5 spots the last two weeks, btw) while Greg Biffle (18th to 22nd) fell four spots.(StockCarFans.Com Nextel Cup Newsletter)(10-16-2004)
  • Edward’s may not make it: The Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway was red flagged for a while due to a three-truck accident and a damaged SAFER wall which took a while to repair. #22-Bill Lester, #17-David Reutimann, #12-Robert Huffman and #67-J.R. Patton were involved.
    Lester and Patton walked away from their trucks, it took a while to get Reutimann out, but he stood up and was alert and both he and Lester were taken by ambulance to a local hospital for further observation. The SAFER wall got pushed in from the impact, and track workers are making repairs by adding more styrofoam, by jumping up and down on it to get it in. Darrell Waltrip contacted Reutimann’s wife who talked to David and he said he was OK and DW contacted the Speed Channel staff.
    So….#99-Carl Edwards, who is scheduled to run the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and is running 3rd, will in all likelyhood not make the start of the Cup race [7:30pm/et], if not, Dave Blaney will run the car. If Edwards makes it, he will have missed the drivers meeting, so either way the #99 Ford will have to fall to the rear of the field before the start of the Cup race. The race ended at 5:00pm/et and Edwards headed to the airport gonna be close. Todd Bodine won again.(10-16-2004)


    October 15, 2004

  • World Series Scheme for Dale Jr. UPDATE 2 yep at Charlotte: For the third time on the NASCAR Circuit, Budweiser and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be teaming up with Major League Baseball to race at the Martinsville Speedway on October 24th. Earnhardt Jr. will be racing his MLB World Series car the same weekend as the start of the World Series [GO Phillies!]. Dale Jr’s special paint scheme will feature the MLB World Series logo and graphics. October 24th, Martinsville Speedway.(8-11-2004)
    UPDATE: being told now that is will NOT happen….
    BUT there may be some sort of MLB scheme in the works but NOT at Martinsville.(8-12-2004)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive a specially-decaled Budweiser #8 car Saturday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway near Charlotte commemorating next week’s World Series. The car will feature the official Major League Baseball World Series ’04 logo on the hood and deck lid as well as images of the championship trophy on the rear quarter panels.  Budweiser, the official beer sponsor of Major League Baseball, has sponsorship deals with the four teams represented in the League Championship Series:  Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros, New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals. This is the fourth season Bud and MLB have teamed up with a special look for the #8 Budweiser car.(fingerprint inc./Anheuser-Busch PR), see an image of the scheme on my #8 Team Paint Schemes page.(10-15-2004)
  • ChevronTexaco Extends Sponsorship of Chip Ganassi Racing: ChevronTexaco Products Company (CTPC), a division of Chevron USA Inc., announced today it has signed a long-term contract extension with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates to continue sponsorship of the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge.Terms of the contract were not announced.
    This season marks Texaco/Havoline’s 17th consecutive year as sponsor in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Through its long-term sponsorship of motorsports, Texaco/Havoline Racing tests its products in the most demanding of laboratories — high-speed automobiles performing on the tracks and roads of the international racing circuit. This commitment ensures the excellence of Texaco/Havoline’s products and builds customer loyalty among the millions of racing fans in the United States and around the world. “With its rich racing history, Texaco/Havoline is one of the most storied sponsors in the sport,” said Chip Ganassi. “Our team couldn’t be more proud to represent Texaco/Havoline and we’re thrilled to continue what has been a truly great partnership with ChevronTexaco. Winning a championship requires a long-term commitment to the sport and to the team, and we are well-positioned for success with a partner like ChevronTexaco.”
    Currently the Texaco/Havoline #42 Dodge is piloted by Jamie McMurray, who was named the 2003 Raybestos Rookie of the Year. “It’s an honor to drive that black car with the big Texaco Star on the hood with all its history and with ChevronTexaco being such a great sponsor,” said McMurray. “Our team has continued to get better and better. Chip and Felix give us the resources to win and I am really looking forward to competing for the Championship next year and for wins every week.”
    2004 marks the 100th anniversary of Havoline, which is a highly recognized brand globally. Throughout the year, ChevronTexaco has been celebrating through a variety of marketing programs and promotions, including the Racing for a $1,000,000 Birthday Bash promotion, in which three lucky consumers will win the grand prize VIP Experience trip to the Checker Auto Parts 500 in Phoenix, November 4-8, 2004. At the race, each grand prize winner is eligible to win $1 million.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(10-15-2004)
  • Driver Injured at Lowe’s Dirt Track UPDATE doing better: An 18-year-old sprint-car driver was in critical condition after crashing in a dirt-track race Wednesday night at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway complex. Emergency workers needed nearly a half-hour to remove Jimmy Weller III of Liberty, Ohio, from his car after it slammed into the wall and flipped violently, the Charlotte Observer reported. Workers covered the driver’s cockpit with a white cloth as they worked to free Weller from the wreck. Weller was flown by helicopter to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, where a hospital spokeswoman said he was in critical condition. She would not provide The Associated Press with details of Weller’s injuries.(FoxSports/AP)(10-14-2004)
    UPDATE: Jimmy Weller III, the 18-year-old U.S. Auto Club sprint car driver injured in a crash Wednesday night at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway, suffered a severe head trauma, but his condition was improving on Thursday. Lowe’s Motor Speedway spokesman Keith Waltz said Weller’s condition had stabilized and swelling was down. He was moving his limbs and responding to commands despite remaining under heavy sedation. Weller also suffered hairline fractures to a pair of vertebrae, but those injuries do not appear to require surgery, Waltz said.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-15-2004)
  • Leffler to run some Busch for Gibbs? Jason Leffler, Joe Gibbs’ new third Cup team driver beginning next season, will likely finish the season in Gibbs’ Busch car, according to team sources. Leffler lost his Busch ride last week when Gene Haas hired a new driver, even though Leffler was third in the standings. Leffler took Haas’ decision to court last week, but a judge in Kansas decided against upholding an injunction.Winston Salem Journal)(10-15-2004)
  • BDR Engine builder to Ganassi? Terry Elledge, a noted engine builder who has been working for car owner Bill Davis [Racing, #22/#23] the past several years, is being wooed by Dodge owner Chip Ganassi, according to team sources.Winston Salem Journal)(10-15-2004)


    October 14, 2004

  • Mark Martin Announcement, done in Full-time Cup after 2005: at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Thursday, Oct 14th at 1:30pm/et. Bill Weber hosted. On the stage: NASCAR’s Mike Helton, Roush Racing’s owner Jack Roush, Mark Martin and Mark’s wife Arlene. Roush talked first about his history with Martin. Roush then announced that 2005 would be the last seasson for Martin in the #6 Viagra Taurus. Martin said he was not retiring, but 2005 would be he last season going for the Nextel Cup. Martin says the tour will be called “Salute to You” tour and he plans to race something in 2006, not sure what, and mentioned the Truck Series. See the Roush Racing site for Mark Martin to Make Final Run for NEXTEL Cup in ’05 and Jack and the Roush Stable comment on the Impact of Mark Martin on Their Careers(10-14-2004)
  • New Associate for Kenseth: Trex Company, manufacturer of TrexR decking and railing, announced today that they are becoming an associate team sponsor in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series for the 2005 racing season. Trex Co. will partner with DEWALT Tools, the primary sponsor, for a series of 38 racing events, including two non-point special events during the year. The companies will sponsor the #17 car driven by Matt Kenseth, as the two building products industry leaders share the spotlight with car logos and promotional events throughout the racing season. For the Spring Atlanta race, Trex decking will have the opportunity to be the primary sponsor of the car, to be referenced as the #17 Trex Ford. Trex Co. will also be featured in DEWALT’s Rolling Thunder 6,400 sq. ft. trackside pavilion which features product demos, driver guest appearances, entertainment and give-aways. Rolling Thunder is DEWALT’s mobile display and entertainment unit that travels to selected race markets. Trex decking and railing is a splinter-free, weather-resistant decking lumber available at more than 3,300 lumber dealer locations in the U.S. and Canada. For an authorized Trex dealer or TrexProT contractor near you, call 1-800- BUY-TREX (289-8739) or visit the Trex Co. website at www.trex.com.(PR), looking to have a new deck built at my place in Mooresville and plan on looking into Trex.(Mercury Marketing / Trex PR)(10-14-2004)
  • Changes at The #15? UPDATE 2: nothing confirmed or denied yet, but hearing that crew chief Slugger Labbe has replaced by Pete Rondeau, crew chief for the #1 part-time team?
    UPDATE: it was reported on XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 144 that Slugger Labbe is moving up into a new management position at DEI and Pete Rondeau is in as crew chief on the 15. Labbe will be in a different role, helping the Busch team win the championship [#8 Truex Jr.] and overseeing all the DEI teams. The chemestry not working on the 15 and they are trying this change.(XM Satellite NASCAR Radio)
    UPDATE 2: Effective immediately, Pete Rondeau has been promoted to crew chief of the Dale Earnhardt. Inc. #15 NAPA Chevrolet driven by Michael Waltrip in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. Rondeau has served as car chief on the NAPA Chevrolet since joining DEI in 2002. Richie Gilmore, Director of Motorsports, said, “Pete has been a tremendous asset as a car chief here at Dale Earnhardt, Inc. We’ve seen in the races he’s run for us this year with Dale Jr., Ron Fellows and Tony Stewart that Pete is an incredible team player. As a crew chief for those races, Pete demonstrated what he learned during the weekend was readily available to the other two teams. At the level of competition this sport is at now, that’s what it takes to be in the top-10 for the Chase for the Championship. When we talked about when to make the transition, we initially thought this would be something that we would do at the end of the 2004 season. In looking at it a little closer, we decided we would go ahead and make the change now and try to win a race or two before the end of the 2004 season.”
    “I’m just grateful for the opportunity,” Rondeau said. “I’m dedicated to doing whatever I need to do to win races. The company’s vote of confidence convinces me that we can do just that.” Richard “Slugger” Labbe will now assist the title efforts for both the Chance 2 Motorsports and No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet teams. In addition, Labbe will oversee development programs for the #11 Menards BGN effort and the #15 NAPA team. Labbe served as crew chief on the #15 NAPA Chevrolet for the past three years.(DEI PR)(10-14-2004)
  • NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Qualifying Notes
    • Ryan Newman won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Bud Pole for the UAW-GM Quality 500, lapping Lowe’s Motor Speedway in 28.590 seconds at 188.877 mph. He broke Jimmie Johnson’s track-qualifying record of 28.869 seconds, 187.052 mph – set May 27, 2004. Johnson had taken the track record from Newman in May.
    • This is Newman’s 24th career Bud Pole in 111 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races. His most recent Bud Pole came at Richmond, five races ago.
    • This is his sixth Bud Pole in 2004, tying Jeff Gordon. Kasey Kahne (four), Casey Mears (two), Brian Vickers (two), Jeremy Mayfield (two) and Joe Nemechek (two) are the other drivers with more than one Bud Pole this season. Qualifying was canceled at Watkins Glen, second Michigan and second New Hampshire due to weather.
    • This is Newman’s 21st top-10 start in 31 races this season, more than any other driver.
    • It is Newman’s fourth Bud Pole and his eighth top-10 start in as many races at Charlotte. It is his third Bud Pole in the last four races here. Newman has never started worse than fourth in a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
    • Kasey Kahne had the second-fastest time with a qualifying lap of 28.820 seconds at 187.311 mph and will join Newman on the front row. It is his 13th top-10 start in 2004 and his eighth on the front row in just 31 career races. It is his first top-10 start in his two races at Charlotte.
    • This is 14th Bud Pole for Dodge in 2004. Chevrolet has 12 Bud Poles and Ford has two.
    • Casey Mears (third) posted his eighth top-10 start in 2004 and completed a Dodge sweep of the top-three starting positions. It is his first start better than 14th in four Charlotte races.
    • Scott Riggs (fourth) posted his sixth top-10 start in 2004 and joins Kahne as two Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year candidates to start in the top four. He started 28th in his other NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
    • Elliott Sadler (fifth) posted his 16th top-10 start in 2004 and his ninth in the past 12 races. It is his sixth top-10 start in 13 races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, including five of the last six races.
    • Three of the 10 drivers involved in The Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup qualified in the top-10: Newman, Sadler and Jimmie Johnson (ninth). NASCAR Statistical Services)(10-14-2004)
  • Stock Car Fans – Ramblings – Chalotte:
    Sometimes you break a track record….sometimes you shatter one. And, sometimes you’re Ryan Newman! Tonight, it was Ryan Newman time again at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, and all he did was blow the previous mark away. Ryan moved around the big track in Charlotte in 28.590 seconds (188.877 mph) and nabbed his 6th Bud pole of 2004 (he’s tied with Jeff Gordon for the front end of that contingeny award) and the 24th of his Cup career. He’ll be joined on the front row by Kasey Kahne…the second week in a row that he’ll be on the outside pole.
    Casey Mears (3rd) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at the Brickyard in August. The top three starters all beat the previous track record tonight.
    Scott Riggs (4th) ties his career-best starting spot this weekend. He also started 4th at Fontana in April and Talladega two weeks ago.
    Kevin Harvick (7th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 5th at Martinsville in April.
    Carl Edwards (9th….and a busy man this weekend) has his career-best starting spot this weekend. His previous best was 13th at Richmond last month.
    Bobby Hamilton (10th….and a proud new papa) has his best starting spot since he lined up 15th when we were here in May of 2001!
    Jimmy Spencer (22nd) has his best starting spot since he qualified 22nd at California in April.
    Jeff Fuller (26th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 7th at Talladega in April of 2000 (only 4 starts).
    Kevin Lepage (27th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 27th at Chicagoland in July (only 3 starts).
    Tony Raines (28th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 19th at Homestead last November (only 5 starts).
    Johnny Sauter (29th) has his best starting spot since he started 29th at 2alladega in April (only 5 starts).
    Ken Schrader (30th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 26th at Bristol in August.
    STREAKIN….Ryan Newman has 5 Top-10 starts in the last 6 races.
    Elliott Sadler has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races
    StockCarFans.Com Nextel Cup Newsletter)(10-14-2004)
  • Gillette Young Guns – Weekly Update: By picking Kurt Busch as the top Gillette Young Gun finisher in the Banquet 400 at Kansas Speedway on October 10th, Christine C. of Lubbock, TX was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Christine picked Busch as the highest finishing Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline.
    As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Busch. This is the fifth time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Busch.
    The Gillette Young Guns are 16 for 30 in the win column so far in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Earnhardt Jr. has five victories, followed by Jimmie Johnson with four victories, Kurt Busch with three victories, and Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman, who have two victories apiece.
    For 26 of the 30 races run in 2004, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings have been led by four members of the Gillette Young Guns. Dale Earnhardt Jr. led for 10 weeks, Jimmie Johnson led for nine weeks, and Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch have both led for four weeks.
    Five members of the Gillette Young Guns have made the top-10 and been awarded a chance to battle for the Chase for the 2004 NEXTEL Cup. They are Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Clinched at Bristol), Matt Kenseth (Clinched at California), Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman (Clinch at Richmond). Harvick did not make the top-10, but there is still a lot of prestige on the line for 11th place in the standings. A total of $970,103 will be paid to the driver who finishes 11th in the final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings – an increase of more than $400,000 over one year ago. That includes a $250,000 bonus, which will be paid to the 11th-place finisher. Additionally, the 11th-place driver will also join the top-10 drivers on the stage at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Awards Banquet in New York in December.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(10-14-2004)
  • Special Scheme for Riggs at Lowe’s: The #10 Valvoline Chevy driven by Scott Riggs this weekend for the UAW-GM Quality 500 will have a decidedly popular paint scheme. That’s because the design was chosen by thousands of Valvoline team “owners” in a recent special vote. The car will be known this weekend as The Team Owners Select #10 Valvoline Chevrolet. This “flowing stripes” paint scheme was last seen in NASCAR competition in 1997 and visited Victory Lane eight times. Riggs likes the idea of Valvoline “insiders” participating in choosing his colors for the weekend. Ten lucky “owners” will be Valvoline guests at Lowe’s Motor Speedway this weekend to see their car run. Owners came from North and South Carolina, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Mexico and Ohio. Race fans wanting to be part of the Valvoline Owners Program can sign up next year at the Valvoline display at Daytona International Speedway and at Bristol Motor Speedway.(DMF Communications PR), see an image of the car on my #10 Team Scheme page.(10-14-2004)
  • Boris Said to run 12 Cup races in 2005: Boris Said, who has run the Cup road races as well as California Speedway this year for MB2 Motorsports in between his Grand American commitments with the PTG BMW team, says he will run a 12-race schedule in Cup for MB2 in 2005, along with selected Busch Series appearances. “I think a couple weeks they’re going to announce it. Then they’ll announce the sponsor and everything,” Said said. “I can’t keep my mouth shut. I’m so excited about it, finally getting the opportunity to do some of the big races. I just can’t wait to get going. We’ll do the Brickyard, Texas, Daytona, Talladega, most of the bigger tracks right now. Hopefully I can talk them into a Bristol or Martinsville, but we haven’t got that definite yet on the schedule.” Said indicated he would like to continue with BMW, if it can be worked into his schedule. “I’ve been with them for 10 years. I’d like to keep some kind of relationship,” he said. “Every year I do 30 to 40 races a year in all different kinds of things, but with this Nextel Cup opportunity, I’m going to really concentrate on that and cut my racing way back. If i’m not racing, I’m going to go to the Nextel Cup races and sit in the spotter’s stand and learn and try to absorb as much as I can. I’m going to do a couple Busch races next year, the Mexico race, the Watkins Glen road race. Everything I’m going to do now, I’m still going to do the Homestead race at the end of the season this year, so we’re going to go test next week. Everything’s going to be about getting ready for the Daytona 500.(Speed Channel)(10-14-2004)
  • How can Labonte run the #44? been asked by some folks how can Terry Labonte run the #44 when Petty Enterprises owns it. No team owns a number, NASCAR ‘owns’ the number. However, Petty Enterprises last ran the #44 a few times in 2003 with Christian Fittipaldi, but not in 2004 as sponsorship has not been found. On Tuesday [Oct 12th] Terry Labonte said on Speed CHannel’s Wind Tunnel, that he asked Kyle Petty planned to use the #44 and was told no, and asked if he could use it for 2005 and 2006 and was told he could.(10-14-2004)
  • Some RCR Changes UPDATE: #29 team Catch-can man Kirk Almquist is moving up the RCR chain of command. Starting this weekend he’ll be the car chief for the #31 Cingular Wireless team with driver Robby Gordon. Kevin Gabard will fall into his position on the weekend crew and #29 car chief Scott Naset will take over catch-can duties.(RCR PR)(10-13-2004)
    UPDATE: This weekend, Gil Martin will be teaming up with the #31 Cingular Wireless racing team to assume the responsibilities as interim crew chief. Martin has spent the majority of 2004 working with the #29 GM Goodwrench team and serving as crew chief of RCR’s special teams programs. Martin is one of a select few crew chiefs to win in NASCAR’s Cup, Busch and Truck Series. He and Gordon are no strangers, having worked together in 2001 and 2002 when Gordon first joined RCR, the duo scored their first NASCAR Cup Series win together at New Hampshire International Speedway in November 2001. Martin will work as a co-crew chief with Gordon’s current crew chief, Chris Andrews.(Robbygordon.com)(10-14-2004)
  • Unsafe at the Races? A spokesman for the National Association of Minority Race Fans is planning a protest for Saturday’s UAW-GM 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. NAMRF, which claims NASCAR races are unsafe for minorities and women, canceled a demonstration at Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 3 because of the group’s security concerns.(Richmond Times Dispatch)
    AND National Association of Minority Race Fans spokesman Rusty Thomas said Tuesday the group hopes to have up to 100 picketers at Saturday night’s Nextel Cup race. Lowe’s Motor Speedway president H.A. (Humpy) Wheeler said Concord police have designated a site near the track on Speedway Boulevard for the group. “Everybody has a right to speak their piece and we respect that,” Wheeler said. “But we are expecting a crowd of 150,000 people. They’ve been given a site that the Concord Police Department has picked out. If they want to use that, it’s fine with us.” Thomas, however, said the group wants to picket at Morehead Road and U.S. 29, near gates where race ticket-holders will enter the track. Ramsey Poston, director of corporate communications for NASCAR, said Tuesday that based on NAMRF officials’ actions, the sanctioning body is “not inclined to have any further discussions with them.”(ThatsRacin.com)(10-14-2004)
  • Earnhardt and Parrott honored: Seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt and Buddy Parrott, a renowned crew chief in NASCAR’s premier series, will be honored in Mooresville tonight by the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame. Earnhardt, who died during the 2001 Daytona 500, will be inducted into the Hall during its eighth annual gala at the Mooresville Citizens Center. Admission is by invitation only. Parrott, who progressed through the racing ranks as a crew member and eventually a top crew chief, will received the Snap-On Golden Wrench Award for his “outstanding contributions to the sports,” said Don Miller, co-founder and chairman of the N.C. Auto Racing Hall of Fame, which is located in Mooresville.
    “Both of these men brought something different to the sport,” Miller said. “Dale was an extremely talented driver and Buddy was an equally talented crew chief. Both men set a competitive standard for the sport that continues to be the yardstick by which success is measured today.”
    Earnhardt, a Kannapolis native who later moved to Mooresville and opened the sprawling Dale Earnhardt Inc. complex on N.C. 3 southeast of town, won 76 Cup races and 22 poles en route to his seven championships. He is the only Cup driver to win rookie honors and the series championship in successive seasons. Earnhardt recorded more than $41 million in career earnings.
    Parrott, a Gastonia native, began his motorsports career mounting tires at the tracks for Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. He then joined legendary crew chief Harry Hyde on the K&K Dodge that Bobby Isaac drove to the 1970 series title. He then served as crew chief for Ferrell Harris, Darrell Waltrip, Richard Petty, Derrick Cope, Jeff Burton, rusty Wallace and Steve Grissom, and retired at the end of the 2001 season. Tonight’s induction ceremonies and Hall of Fame events are presented by ALLTEL and Snap-On Tools. (Mooresville Tribune), Jayski will be attending, should be fun.(10-13-2004)
    UPDATE: Enjoyed going to the event, met some nice people, local and in the sport, thanks to Frank Owens of Mooresville for inviting me. Hello to Garry Hill and Brad P. Good job by Don Miller, Benny Parsons, Todd Parrott, Buddy Parrott, Rusty Wallace and Dale Earnhardt’s sister for their nice speeches and recollections. Great video on Buddy Parrott and Dale Earnhardt.(10-14-2004)


    October 13, 2004

  • NASCAR Looking at Stewart-Bliss Scuffle UPDATE 2 No Penalties: NASCAR officials confirmed Sunday they are investigating a confrontation between drivers Tony Stewart and Mike Bliss that took place following Saturday’s Busch Series race at Kansas Speedway. The incident involved Stewart and Bliss as well as several others, said NASCAR vice president for corporate communications Jim Hunter. “There was apparently a little incident in a truck hauler after the Busch race and we’re going to continue to look into it,” he said. “We had some discussions (Sunday). It’s a Busch issue. We’ll decide what to do – if anything – after we have more details on what took place.” Hunter characterized the episode as a “minor incident amongst teammates, I might add.” Stewart and Bliss both drive for Joe Gibbs Racing, but Stewart was driving an entry for Chance2 Motorsports in the Busch race Saturday. The two traded several bumps on the track during the race. Stewart, Bliss, JGR president J.D. Gibbs and Stewart’s Nextel Cup crew chief, Greg Zipadelli made trips to the NASCAR hauler Sunday morning. Gibbs stopped briefly to speak to reporters after his meeting. “We talked about some stuff that happened yesterday and I think we got it cleared up,” he said. “We’ll probably have to address it again this week some more and then move on.” Hunter said he didn’t want to get into the details of the incident, because NASCAR had yet to speak with some witnesses who were not at the track Sunday. Hunter said if a points penalty were involved as a result of NASCAR’s investigation, it would only involve Busch points. Stewart is currently one of 10 drivers competing in the Chase for the Nextel Cup. “In my opinion, it was something that carried over from the race track where tempers were involved and in the end, a lot of strong words and that sort of thing,” Hunter said.(ThatsRacin.com)
    AND Nextel Cup driver Tony Stewart was required to get a checkup at Kansas Speedway’s infield care center Sunday morning because he failed to stay there for one Saturday after his late-race wreck with Joe Nemechek. Hunter said Stewart had to have the checkup before he was allowed to race in Sunday’s Banquet 400.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-10-2004)
    UPDATE: According to observers this is what happened: On the track, Bliss was a couple of laps down and Stewart was the race leader when a caution flag came out. Stewart was coming up on Bliss, and Bliss waved him to pass on the inside, a wave that Stewart apparently missed. When Bliss held his high line, Stewart angrily popped him. That angered Bliss, who popped him back. The two traded a few more bumps and obscene gestures before the race resumed. After the race, Stewart waited in Bliss’ trailer to talk with him. The exchange became heated, and Stewart punched Bliss, wrestled him to the floor of the trailer and threw at least three more punches, according to witnesses.(more at Winston Salem Journal)(10-11-2004)
    UPDATE 2 – No Penalties: NASCAR has elected not to penalize Tony Stewart or Mike Bliss in connection with a confrontation between the two that followed last weekend’s Busch Series race at Kansas Speedway, spokesman Mike Zizzo said Wednesday. After reviewing the incident, NASCAR officials determined it to be “an internal team matter” within the Joe Gibbs Racing operation, Zizzo said.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-13-2004)
  • Allen Bestwick returns to the booth: NASCAR on NBC & TNT play-by-play commentator Allen Bestwick, who missed the past two race weekends after undergoing surgery to repair a broken left leg suffered in a hockey game near his home in Coventry, R.I., will return to call the race this weekend. “All year long, we’ve been looking forward to the last 10 races,” said Bestwick. “With all the excitement around the ‘Chase’ and when you love doing this as much as I do, it’s really tough to be forced to the sidelines.” Pre-race host and lead pit reporter Bill Weber, who has filled-in for Bestwick calling the race alongside analysts Benny Parsons and Wally Dallenbach, will return to his regular assignments of hosting and leading the reporting on pit road with Dave Burns, Marty Snider and Matt Yocum. Bestwick, a lifelong Red Sox fan, had his own reasons for keeping Weber, a New Jersey native and lifetime Yankees supporter, away from the microphone this week. “I had to get back this week because I couldn’t stand leaving the microphone open to an unrebuked Yankees fan,” Bestwick said. Weber countered: “I think it’s nice that Allen used hockey to cover his injury but the real story is that he found out just how tough Don Zimmer really is.”(NBC PR)(10-13-2004)
  • Co-Sponsors for the #99 at Lowe’s: Roush Racing announced today that Canteen Vending, in association with long-time Roush Racing partner Kraft Foods, will sponsor Carl Edwards and the #99 Roush Racing Ford at the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Canteen Vending and Kraft’s Maxwell House brand will appear as co-primary sponsors on the #99 Ford while several other Kraft brands will appear as associates. Edwards has completed two of three double duty weekends so far. Two weeks ago he traveled between Las Vegas, NV and Dover, DE and last week traveled between Fontana, CA and Talladega, AL. During the Charlotte race weekend Edwards will also be racing the #99 Truck in Texas. Edwards will practice and qualify the #99 Canteen Vending Ford on Thursday then fly to Texas to practice and qualify the truck Friday. Veteran driver Dave Blaney will assume driving duties for both practice sessions Friday at Charlotte in the #99 Ford. Edwards will then race the #99 Superchips F-150 early Saturday afternoon returning to Charlotte for Saturday night’s 500-mile race. Blaney will be on standby Saturday night should there be any problems with Edwards travel schedule. In addition to their sponsorship of Edwards and the #99 Ford, Canteen has also begun a partnership with NASCAR to market to NASCAR fans who show exceptional loyalty to racing sponsors. CEO, Mike Kiser, states, “Our membership in NASCAR’s family of sponsors furthers our uniqueness in the marketplace and allows us to deliver a delicious and entertaining experience to our customers. It also brings a new level of pride to our associates, especially our route and technical crew who perform behind the wheel everyday delivering Canteen’s winning vending services.” Canteen Vending is a member of Compass Group. Compass Group North America employs 117,000 associates and has annual revenue of $6 billion. UK-based Compass Group PLC reports revenue of $19 billion and is recognized by FORTUNE Magazine as the world’s 9th largest employer, with over 420,000 associates in 96 countries around the world.(Roush Racing PR)(10-12-2004)
    IMAGE: see an image of the car on the #99 Team Scheme page or the 2004 Cup Schemes page.(10-13-2004)
  • Surprise! Leffler to the #11 Fed-Ex car: FedEx Corp, a worldwide leader in the broadest range of transportation, e-commerce and business services, will sponsor a third Joe Gibbs Racing car for the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season with Jason Leffler as the driver, officials from FedEx and JGR announced Oct. 13. Leffler will join teammates Bobby Labonte, 2000 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion and driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet and Tony Stewart 2002 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion and driver of No. 20 The Home Depot Chevrolet.
    “Our relationship with Joe Gibbs Racing in America’s fastest growing sport is a strategic fit for the FedEx brand and a strong extension of our sponsorship portfolio,” said T. Michael Glenn, executive vice president of FedEx Corp. “Success on the track depends on reliability, precision, teamwork and speed, and our employees and contractors deliver those values to our customers every day.” The partnership brings together the Gibbs name and FedEx for a second time. JGR owner Joe Gibbs, a three-time Super Bowl-winning coach and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, coaches the Washington Redskins at FedExField in Landover, Md. “FedEx is one of the most admired and recognizable companies in the world, and I’m happy to have such a renowned addition to the team,” Gibbs said. “FedEx and I enjoy a strong relationship with the Redskins, and I am excited to extend that winning relationship to NASCAR.”
    Leffler, 29, from Long Beach, Calif., is a versatile driver who has competed in all three of NASCAR’s top divisions, the 2000 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race and won three consecutive United States Auto Club National Midget titles from 1997-1999 and the 1998 USAC Silver Crown title. He scored his first career Busch Series victory June 12 at Nashville Superspeedway and has made 33 NEXTEL Cup starts, including 30 for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2001. Prior to competing with Ganassi, Leffler drove a JGR Busch Series car in 1999 and 2000, making 35 starts. “I’m very excited for the opportunity to drive for FedEx and Joe Gibbs Racing,” Leffler said. “I look forward to representing a great company like FedEx. JGR is one of the best teams in the business, so I’m looking forward to a great season in 2005.” Dave Rogers, who served as race engineer for Tony Stewart’s car from 1999-2004, will serve as Leffler’s crew chief on the #11 FedEx Chevrolet. Rogers, 30, from Marshfield, Vt., has worked at JGR since July 1998 and obtained a degree in mechanical engineering in 1996 from Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y. He earned a masters degree in science and engineering in 1999 from the GMI Engineering & Management Institute in Flint, Mich. “I’m really looking forward to working with FedEx and Jason,” Rogers said. “I’ve learned a lot from Greg Zipadelli through the past six years and I’m ready for the challenge as crew chief of the #11 FedEx Chevrolet.” The #11 was selected for the FedEx team because of its rich NASCAR history. Eight series championships have been won by cars carrying the number – two with Ned Jarrett in 1961 and 1965, three consecutive with Cale Yarborough in 1976-78 and three with Darrell Waltrip in 1981-82 and 1985. The #11 has scored 180 victories in NASCAR’s premiere division, second all-time. The number also holds significance for J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR, who wore #11 during his football career from 1987-1990 at The College of William & Mary. “It’s an extreme pleasure to welcome FedEx to Joe Gibbs Racing,” J.D. Gibbs said. “It’s hard to believe we’re adding a third team. When we started the team back in 1991 I think we only had about 11 employees and one or two race cars. We’ve come a long way since then and this is a milestone day for Joe Gibbs Racing.” Leffler, Rogers and the #11 FedEx Chevrolet will compete for the first time in the Twin 125 qualifying races Feb. 17, 2004 at Daytona International Speedway. The Daytona 500 is scheduled for Feb. 20, 2004. More info aboutr FedEx at www.fedex.com.(Joe Gibbs Racing PR), past news and rumors on the team on my #11 Team News and Links page and a few images on the #11 Team Paint Scheme page and see images of the Press Conference at Joegibbsracing.com.(10-13-2004)
  • Yeley’s Reaction: J.J. Yeley, who early on was the lead candidate for the third Joe Gibbs Racing #11 car is not disappointed that Jason Leffler was signed to drive the Fedex Chevrolet. Yeley told PRN’s Garagepass “The way my seasons gone and the limited experience it would almost be throwing a lamb at the wolves putting me up there with the greatest race car drivers in the world after 14 races. This is the best thing for my career, my team and for Joe Gibbs Racing. We’ll go and run for the Busch Series championship next year and gain the experience I need and then when 2006 rolls around we’ll see what happens. To do it (the move to Nextel cup) after two-thirds of a season would be a long shot.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(10-13-2004)
  • Kansas Win Puts Sadler’s Pit Crew Back On Top: Elliott Sadler’s pit crew won the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade Sunday at Kansas Speedway. The victory lifted the No. 38 crew into first place in the point standings and the chase for the $200,000 champion’s bonus. Sadler’s crew leads the weekly competition in both victories (six) and prize money ($120,000). With six Nextel Cup races remaining, Sadler’s crew goes into the homestretch with a nine-point lead over Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew – 1072 to 1063. Earnhardt’s crew finished 12th in Kansas. Sadler’s M&M’s Ford spent the least amount of time on Kansas’ pit road – 150.499 seconds. Greg Biffle’s National Guard Ford was second at 182.875. Dale Jarrett’s UPS Ford came in third with a time of 184.018. “It’s awesome to have great pit strategy and a great pit crew,” said Sadler. “Our M&M’S pit crew has been on top of their game all year. They practice hard all week and it shows up every Sunday. This is by far the best pit crew I’ve ever had in my career and our results echo their success on pit road. Every time the yellow comes out I know we are going to come in and pick up some spots. Those guys deserve this McDonald’s/POWERade award and our team has won this more than any other team this season and now we’re back in the lead.” Sadler’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Darryl Lockyer (front-tire changer), Kevin Hall (front-tire carrier), Dave Smith (rear-tire changer/car chief), Lance Hanna (rear-tire carrier), Rodney Fetters (jackman), Preston Cordell (gas man) and Jay Thompson (catch can). The team’s crew chief is Todd Parrott.(DMF Commuincations PR), see top 10 at Kansas, the full standings, who is eligible and not on my Pit Crew Page, see past results on my 2004 Past Pit Crew News page.(10-13-2004)
  • Budweiser Unviels the new Dale Earnhardt ‘8-Pack’: Anheuser-Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced today that the popular NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver will be displayed on the packaging of new Budweiser ‘8-packs’ now available in select race markets. Select wholesalers and retailers in Charlotte, N.C., Darlington, S.C. and Atlanta are offering the specialty packaging of 12-ounce Budweiser cans through the end of the year while supplies last. In 2005, the new packages will be found in all NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race markets. The ‘8-packs’ are packaged at the Anheuser-Busch Williamsburg brewery. For more information, visit www.anheuser-busch.com and www.budweiser.com.(fingerprint inc/Budweiser PR)(10-13-2004)
  • Elliott tests at Atlanta: Georgia’s own Bill Elliott tested his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup car Tuesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway in preparation for the Oct. 29-31 Bass Pro Shops 500 weekend. Elliott – a Dawsonville, Ga., native – returned to his home track to prepare for what will be the seventh of eight races he is running during this season’s limited schedule. Elliott circled the 1.54-mile track Tuesday in his #98 McDonald’s Dodge in 29.82 seconds (185.915 mph). He was joined during the test by a contingent of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers [for those speeds, see my Truck Series page]. Atlanta Motor Speedway testing will continue throughout the next week as drivers prepare for the upcoming Oct. 29-31 race weekend. Elliott will continue testing Wednesday, while #6-Mark Martin, #99-Carl Edwards (Cup car), #17-Matt Kenseth, Reed Sorenson, and Boston Reid are scheduled to test next week. All tests sessions are closed to the public, but make sure to check the AMS website at www.atlantamotorspeedway.com for daily updates.(AMS PR)(10-13-2004)
  • Sam Bass Gallery gears up: The Sam Bass Gallery is gearing up for the UAW-GM Quality 500 race this week at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with a variety of new artworks and collectibles that are sure to be a hit with even the most discriminating race fan. Here’s a look at just a few of the highlight. In what has become a much-anticipated holiday tradition, Sam will be unveiling his third annual Christmas-themed die-cast during race week. This year’s car-appropriately numbered “04”-will feature images of Santa Claus, his reindeer, and elves against a lustrous gold chrome finish. As in the past, the car will be produced by Team Caliber, a leader in the die-cast collectible industry. The holiday die-cast will be available in Team Caliber’s award-winning 1:24 scale Owner’s Series for $90. The smaller 1:64 scale PitStop Series version is offered for only $10. Sam not only created the graphics for the collectible, he actually came up with the idea of developing the series. A prototype of the 2004 Sam Bass Holiday car will be on display at the Gallery during race week so that fans may pre-order to ensure delivery by Christmas. This collectible is an annual sell-out, so be sure to reserve yours in advance.
    In an exciting new twist to collectible art, Sam has teamed up with Simply Home-a longtime manufacturer of NASCAR-themed tapestry throws and related products-to create a new line featuring some of Sam’s most popular illustrations. The first offering in a series of throws will showcase the artwork used on Sam’s 2004 Holiday car. A great way to complement any NASCAR collection, these high-quality 50″ X 60″ double woven throws are manufactured of 100% cotton right here in the USA. Simply Home’s state-of-the-art technology enables the replication of Sam’s artwork onto fabric with amazing authenticity.
    As always, the Sam Bass Gallery offers a broad selection of limited edition prints and fine art posters. Collectors will discover fine art specials during race week on many of Sam’s latest creations, as well as some of his most popular illustrations from the past. It’s a great way to add to a personal collection, or get a head start on holiday shopping. Bass will be in the Gallery for autograph opportunities throughout the week. For a schedule, go to www.sambass.com.(10-13-2004)
  • Ride with Richard Winner: Bob Buell of Camden, Maine, is the lucky grand prize winner of RCR’s “Ride with Richard” promotion as part of the 35th Anniversary celebration. Buell will ride around Lowe’s Motor Speedway with Childress himself in the retro No. 3 35th Anniversary Chevrolet painted in the CRC colors Childress drove in the the mid 70’s. The event will take place Friday, Oct. 15 at 11 a.m. The grand prize also includes round trip airfare, hotel accommodations and a VIP weekend at the track with RCR for Buell and a guest. Buell entered the contest by signing up to be a RCR fan club member at rcrracing.com.(RCR PR)(10-13-2004)
  • Tony Glover Named Interim Crew Chief of the #40: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced that team manager Tony Glover will act as interim crew chief on the #40 Coors Light Dodge starting this weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, while Lee McCall has accepted a new shop-based crew chief position in the organization. “Our team is about performance and the No. 40 team hasn’t regained its championship-caliber form of just two years ago,” car owner Chip Ganassi said. “Sometimes in any sport, you need to change things up in order to re-energize the team and this is one of those times. We have made some other changes as well to try and help the performance of the team for the remainder of the 2004 season,” Ganassi added. “Tony and Sterling have been working together for a long time and hopefully they can get this team back on track. I guess we want to try and put the band back together.” Glover was the team manager of Team SABCO racing teams when Ganassi partnered with Felix Sabates in 2000. Together with Andy Graves, Glover continued his role as a team manager for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Since Glover’s affiliation with CGRwFS, the teams have had five wins, five poles, 32 top-fives and 62 top-10s. This is the Kingsport, Tenn. native’s seventh season with the team and his 10th season partnered with driver Sterling Marlin.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)(10-13-2004)
  • Marathon #51 Chevrolet to race in UAW-GM Quality 500: This weekend, the #51 Marathon Chevrolet driven by Tony Raines, will be racing at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “We appreciate Marathon’s sponsorship support,” said Joe Auer, team owner. Auer also announced that the team’s crew chief for this race will be Mark Tudor. Auer further commented, “We’ve been working hard on our engine and Raines has been driving great, we are really looking forward to this weekend’s race.”(Competitive Edge Motorsports PR)(10-13-2004)
  • Tuesday Testing at Martinsville: Another day of testing at Martinsville Speedway and another assault on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup track qualifying record. Nine drivers tested at the venerable half-mile track Tuesday in preparation for the October 24th running of the SUBWAY 500. Three drivers, #24-Jeff Green, #0-Ward Burton and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. posted times under the track record and seven of the nine were within striking distance. Eight of the nine drivers recorded times quicker than Jeff Gordon’s pole-winning time a year ago. The reason for the quicker speeds was simple according to Net Zero driver Ward Burton: the track’s new surface. “They did a fabulous job of the repaving,” said Burton. The speeds:
    #43-Jeff Green, 19.78 seconds, 95.733mph
    #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 19.80, 95.636
    #0-Ward Burton, 19.85, 95.395
    #10-Scott Riggs, 19.87, 95.299
    #49-Ken Schrader, 19.88, 95.252
    #17-Matt Kenseth, 19.90, 95.156
    #01-Joe Nemechek, 19.91, 95.108
    #15-Michael Waltrip, 20.00, 94.680
    #59-Klaus Graff, 20.30, 93.281
    Track Record set by Tony Stewart in 2000, 19.85, 95.395mph
    Wed:Riggs is the only driver out of those testing Tuesday who will definitely return Wednesday. #2-Rusty Wallace is also scheduled to test on Wednesday and Thursday.
    Tickets for both the SUBWAY 500 on Sunday, October 24, and the Kroger 200 NASACAR Craftsman Truck Series race, on Saturday, Saturday, October 23, are on sale and can be purchased by calling 1.877.RACE.TIX. SUBWAY 500 tickets may also be purchased online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com Anyone buying a SUBWAY 500 ticket between now and October 15 can receive $5 off the purchase of a Kroger 200 ticket. Children’s truck tickets are discounted $1 when bought with a SUBWAY 500 ticket.(Martinsville Speedway PR)(10-13-2004)


    October 12, 2004

  • Labonte Announcement Oct 12th UPDATE – OFFICAL: Hendrick Motorsports has a press conference scheduled with Terry Labonte for Tuesday morning (breakfast with Kellogg’s — get it?), when Labonte supposedly will announce he is cutting back to a limited schedule for 2005 and 2006. Kyle Busch is slated to be Labonte’s full-time replacement, moving up from the Busch Series. Supposedly, Labonte will drive the #44, his first number in NASCAR, while Busch will get the #5.(NASCAR.com Buzz)(10-10-2004)
    TV: SPEED Channel will interrupt regularly scheduled programming Tuesday, Oct 12th at 9:30am/et to bring viewers LIVE coverage of the Hendrick Motorsports press conference with team owner Rick Hendrick and two-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion Terry Labonte. SPEED Channel’s Bob Dillner will be on-site for post-announcement interviews.(Speed Channel PR)(10-11-2004)
    The Press Conference: Fox’s Mike Joy hosting the Terry Labonte announcement, on stage at the table are: NASCAR’s Mike Helton, Team Owner Rick Hendrick, Terry Labonte, Bobby Labonte and Ken Schrader with Labonte’s family in the front row.
    Terry Labonte announced he will run a limited schedule, running 20 races in 2005 and 2006, 10 in each year. In 2005 his first scheduled start will be at California Speedway Feb 27th] and the final 2005 race will be at Texas Motor Speedway [Nov 6th] and that Darlington would ‘probably be one of those races.
    Kyle Busch was announced as the new #5 Kelloggs driver in 2005. Decisions on shop, crew and equipment will be made and announced at a later date. Speed cut away as the Q&A was to start. It was mentioned Kelloggs will be part of it, no word on the car number yet, rnor has it being #44.
    An AP report: Two-time NASCAR champion Terry Labonte will race a limited schedule in 2005 and 2006, joining the growing list of veteran drivers slowly easing out of racing. Labonte is scheduled to run about 10 races next season in the #44 Chevrolet, followed by 10 races in 2006 in what will be his final season. “I thought a while about just walking away and I couldn’t do it, but I didn’t want to do a traditional farewell tour,” the 47-year-old Labonte said. Nineteen-year-old Kyle Busch will take Labonte’s spot in the #5 Chevy and is to run a full-time Nextel Cup schedule in 2005. He is the younger brother of current Nextel Cup points leader Kurt Busch. Labonte was in the #44 when he won his first points title.
    Labonte is following in the footsteps of 49-year-old Bill Elliott, who scaled back to a part-time schedule this season. He said his decision was inspired in part by Elliott’s example. Rusty Wallace also has announced that 2005 will be his final season; other longtime NASCAR mainstays probably aren’t too far behind. Car owner Jack Roush said in August that 45-year-old Mark Martin indicated next season will be his last, and the two have called a news conference for Thursday.(Charlotte Observer/AP)
    AND while since Terry Labonte is being mentioned here…..Fans will have the opportunity to meet Tony the Tiger and two-time NASCAR champion Terry Labonte on Wednesday, Oct. 13 when the “Tonymobile” visits the Hendrick Motorsports Museum.(more info at the HMS Site)(10-12-2004)
  • Overnight TV Ratings up 5%: NBC’s broadcast of Sunday’s Banquet 400 at Kansas Speedway earned an overnight rating of 4.0 and an 8 share from Nielsen Media Research, today’s Sports Business Daily reports. The figures represent a 5.3 percent increase from last year’s 3.8/8 overnight for the same race.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(10-12-2004)
  • Hauler Drivers got for the prize – winner takes all:
    NASCAR Nextel Cup Transport Drivers will take part in the Pilot Truck Driver Challenge – Chicane Course at Cabarrus Arena & Events Center, 4751 NC Hwy 49 North, Concord, NC 28025 on Tuesday, October 12, 2004 from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm…the prize…$50,000 – Winner Take All.
    A grand prize of $50,000 is on the line for Nextel Cup transport drivers. The Pilot Truck Driver Challenge has raised the awareness of safety in the truck driving industry since its conception. The winner will take away the grand prize and become the spokesmen for Pilot’s safe and responsible truck driving campaign. Nextel Cup Series transport drivers now have the opportunity to shine in the sixth category of the challenge. A Chicane Course has been specifically planned and designed to test the drivers’ skill and accuracy, rather than speed. The competitive nature and enthusiastic attitude of each driver is evident, as currently only 20 points separates the field. Drivers are invited to bring themselves, and their haulers, to the Cabarrus Arena & Events Center to display their abilities in front of challenge officials, fans and media.(PR)
    AND Pilot has launched a website to feature the Truck Driver Challenge. www.PilotTruckChallenge.com will have results and overall competition standings, along with “spotlight” transport driver biographies posted each week. Looking at the chart, 10 [of 27 total] hauler drivers are tied for first with 80 points, so it is up for grabs.(10-12-2004)
  • Pemberton Wins WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race: In one of the most thrilling races of the year, Joe Nemechek held off a hard-charging Ricky Rudd on the final lap of the Banquet 400 to claim his first win of the season. The victory was also crew chief Ryan Pemberton’s first career Nextel Cup Series win, but the accolades didn’t end there, as Pemberton was voted by race fans the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race. Over 40% of the fans who logged onto www.WYPALL.com thought Pemberton’s superior strategy made him the easy pick for the award. Pemberton made the risky call to leave his driver on the track during a late-race caution, despite the leaders coming into the pits to top off with fuel. Nemechek moved from 14th to 4th by not pitting and took over the lead on lap 231, never looking back. “Pemberton didn’t have the best car on the track, but he had the best game plan,” noted race fan Ryan Ott. “He had a car that could go the distance and he was willing to bet on it.”
    “Ryan (Pemberton) did a heckuva job,” commented WYPALL Wipers spokesman Robbie Reiser. “He put together a really fast car. Their track position would have probably kept them from winning, but Ryan took care of that by leaving Joe (Nemechek) out on that last round of stops. He may have been on old tires, but his car was so fast that it didn’t matter. His move put his car right up front and ultimately got them the win.”
    Tony Eury, Sr. remains in first place in the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief Challenge with nine wins. Chad Knaus and Robbie Loomis are tied for second place with four wins. Tommy Baldwin is in third place with three wins. Robbie Reiser and Matt Borland stand in fourth place with two wins. Pat Tryson, Larry Carter, Lee McCall, Donnie Wingo, Phillipe Lopez, Ryan Pemberton, and Pete Rondeau are tied for fifth place, each with one win. The crew chief with the most weekly wins at the end of the season will be named WYPALL® Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and receive $10,000.00. For more information, visit www.wypall.com.(PR)(10-12-2004)
  • Senate Passes Corporate Tax Bill, NASCAR Tracks Included: The Senate passed a far-reaching, $136 billion corporate tax package Monday that cuts taxes for businesses ranging from film companies to bow and arrow makers while closing tax loopholes and bringing U.S. exporters in line with international trade rules. The corporate tax bill grew out of the need for Congress to respond to a World Trade Organization (news – web sites) ruling that a $5 billion annual subsidy for U.S. exporters was illegal. As a result, 1,600 American exports to Europe are being hit by penalty tariffs that now stand at 12 percent and are rising by one percentage point a month. The bill became the vehicle for the most significant overhaul of corporate tax law in nearly two decades. It includes $76.5 billion in new tax relief for the manufacturing sector, which was broadly defined to include oil and gas producers, architectural and engineering firms and film and music companies. The package also provides benefits for a wide range of groups, from native Alaskan whalers, importers of Chinese ceiling fans, NASCAR race track owners [note: or any race track owner] and residents of states without state income taxes, who would be able to deduct state and local sales taxes from their federal tax returns. The measure includes a $10.1 billion buyout for tobacco farmers. Several senators from both parties objected strenuously that the final version of the bill drops Senate-approved language that would give the Food and Drug Administration (news – web sites) the power to regulate tobacco.(Yahoo News)(10-12-2004)
  • Airplus Insoles to Be An Associate Sponsor with ppc Racing: Airplus Insoles announces its entrance into the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series with driver John Andretti and #14 ppc Racing with its first race at next weekend’s event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Airplus Insoles is currently an associate sponsor with drivers Jason Keller and Terry Cook in the NASCAR Busch and Craftsman Truck Series, its first year of sponsorship with ppc Racing. Airplus Insoles will be an associate sponsor on the #14 VB Ford Taurus, giving a full presence with ppc Racing. “Adding Airplus Insoles to our cup efforts is another tremendous boost to our racing programs,” said Keith Barnwell, co-owner and general manager at ppc Racing.(ppc Racing PR)(10-12-2004)
  • Kerry Earnhardt comes close: Kerry Earnhardt came up just short of capturing his first NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series victory Saturday at Colorado National Speedway after finishing fourth in the NAPA 150 at the 3/8-mile Erie, Colo., oval. Earnhardt qualified his Bill McNally-owned #18 Napa Auto Care Chevrolet fourth in the 19-car field and led 91 circuits of the 150-lap event. Earnhardt scrubbed the wall on lap 108, but came back from deep in the field to snag his second top-five and fifth top-10 in six NASCAR West Series events this season. Earnhardt’s BMR teammate Austin Cameron started the event on the outside pole and finished runner-up to winner Mike Duncan. Earnhardt, 34, has made four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series starts for Richard Childress Racing (RCR) this season with a best finish of 24th coming two weeks ago at Talladega in the No. 33 Bass Pro Shops Chevy. Earnhardt also made one NASCAR Busch Series start for RCR this season where he wheeled the #29 ESGR entry to a 23rd-place finish last month at Dover. Next up for Kerry Earnhardt in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series will be a trip to Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 17 for the October Classic 150. Earnhardt will return to NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competition Sunday, Oct. 31 for the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.(RCR PR)(10-12-2004)


    October 11, 2004

  • Good Day for the Military: the three teams sponsored by the U.S. Military Branches finished 1st – #01-Joe Nemechek/U.S. Army; 2nd – #21-Ricky Rudd/Motorcraft/Air Force; 3rd – #16-Greg Biffle/National Guard at Kansas Speedway.(10-11-2004)
  • Alan Taylor Communications Expanding Operations: Alan Taylor Communications, Inc. (ATC), a leader in lifestyle and sports public relations, announced today the firm is expanding operations in Charlotte, NC, next month. Brett Jewkes, senior vice president and member of the agency’s Operating Committee, will relocate from New York to head the Charlotte office. ATC currently serves several long-time client partners based in the southeast and several others that have key marketing communications initiatives in the region. Some of these client partners include: NASCAR, Sara Lee Branded Apparel, Gillette, Diageo and Best Western.
    Since joining ATC in April of 1999, Jewkes has created and executed strategic brand-building campaigns, new product launches and community relations initiatives for a wide range of agency partners such as Nestle Purina PetCare, Spalding Sports Worldwide, Merck, Inc., Best Western and NASCAR. He has led the agency’s NASCAR account team since 2000 and made significant contributions to strategic program development for a number of consumer products clients participating in NASCAR sponsorships, including Gillette, Diageo and General Mills. Matt Ciesluk, an account supervisor who has been with ATC in New York since 1999, will join Jewkes in Charlotte. Ciesluk has played a key role on consumer products account teams serving Diageo, Gillette, MasterCard, JPMorganChase, TD Waterhouse and NASCAR. Veteran motorsports publicist, Tim Sullivan, who has been working for ATC from a satellite office in Charlotte since January, will also be based in ATC’s new Charlotte office, along with recently-hired Jennifer Soporowski, a Charlotte native and UNC-Wilmington graduate who recently completed work on her master’s degree at the University of Florida.(Alan Taylor Communications)(10-11-2004)
  • Testing at Atlanta Monday = Newman: #12-Ryan Newman tested at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Monday [Oct 11th]. Newman has won three straight pole positions at Atlanta and while he will be trying for four straight poles and a win, Newman will also be fighting for the $1 million payoff that goes to this year’s Crown Royal IROC champion. Newman was the only NEXTEL Cup driver who tested Monday at Atlanta. He led the unofficial speed chart by circling the 1.54-mile quad-oval in 29.70 seconds (186.667 mph), leading the brigade of seven Ford and one Toyota Craftsman Truck Series drivers who also tested Monday. Carl Edwards, who is running in both the Craftsman Truck and NEXTEL Cup series, was the fastest Ford Truck on Monday, turning in a lap in 31.05 seconds (178.551 mph). Newman leads fellow NEXTEL Cup driver Matt Kenseth by just four points in the standings for the Crown Royal IROC series.. At the end of the Atlanta race, points will be tallied and a champion of champions will be named. For the first time in history, the Crown Royal IROC champion will pocket a cool million. That’s a major increase from the 2003 season, when champion Kurt Busch received $250,000, a series record. Newman tested his NEXTEL Cup car, trying to learn as much as he could both for the upcoming Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta and the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, a sister track of Atlanta.
    NASCAR testing will continue with the throughout the next two weeks, as drivers prepare for the Oct. 29-31 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500. Dawsonville’s Bill Elliott will be on hand to test Tuesday [Oct 12th] and Wednesday [Oct 13th], while Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, local racer Reed Sorenson and many more are slated to test next week. All test sessions are closed to public.(AMS PR), see the Truck Series page for speeds of eight drivers who tested there.(10-11-2004)
  • Daytona Testing to Talladega? UPDATE NO..at Daytona: Daytona 500 testing in January could be moved to Talladega, according to NASCAR sources, because the recent spat of hurricanes has put infield reconstruction at Daytona far behind.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-11-2004)
    UPDATE: Despite erroneous media reports, Daytona International Speedway will be the site for NASCAR testing for the 2005 season as well as NASCAR Preseason Fan Fest. “Daytona International Speedway weathered the recent hurricanes and we’re looking forward to January testing,” said Robin Braig, Daytona International Speedway track president. “Contrary to what fans may have read, “The World Center of Racing” will be the place to see all of your NASCAR favorites as well as the Grand American Series.”(DIS PR), for the January testing schedule, see Jayski’s Testing Page.(10-11-2004)
  • Larry Foyt to drive 2nd BAM Racing car in 3 races: Larry Foyt and the #59 BAM Racing Dodge team head to the 1.5-mile Lowe’s Motor Speedway, located in Concord, N.C., for Saturday night’s UAW-GM Quality 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race. Foyt joins BAM Racing with an extensive background in both stock car and open wheel racing. Part of the lineage of the legendary A.J. Foyt, Larry Foyt raced in the 2003 NASCAR Nextel Cup season for A.J. Foyt Racing, as well as in this year’s Indianapolis 500. Foyt has a variety of racing experience from USAC, ASA, NASCAR Busch, and Nextel Cup series. “This will be the first time I’ve driven for a race team owned by someone outside of the family. It’ll be a neat experience, something different that I’m looking forward to. Having two cars is something I know BAM Racing is looking forward to in the near future, so it’s important for us to perform well this weekend. The only other time they’ve fielded two cars in the same race was at Infineon and both cars finished well out there. Hopefully, we can duplicate the same performance this weekend,” Foyt said.”I’m also looking forward to having Kenny Schrader as a teammate. He and A.J. Foyt know each other pretty well and he has said often how A.J. helped him throughout his racing career. Hopefully, a Nextel Cup veteran like Kenny can return the favor. As for now, we’re planning on running three Nextel Cup races with BAM Racing before the end of the year; starting in Charlotte, then Atlanta, then the season finale in Homestead. After that we’ll see. We’re actively working on securing sponsorship for the 2005 Nextel Cup season.(Williams Company PR)(10-11-2004)
  • 2004 Manufacturers’ Championship on the Line at Lowe’s Motor Speedway: If a Chevrolet wins the 2004 UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Saturday October 16th they will clinch the 2004 Manufacturers’ Championship. It will mark Chevrolet’s 28th Manufacturers’ Championship since 1952 and 24th in the 33-year modern era (since 1972). A Chevrolet has won 17 of the 30 races in 2004. Ford has nine victories and Dodge has four.(NASCAR Statistical Services), see Jayski’s 2004 Manufacturers Championship page for standings, race-by-race, which driver has scored for each, manufacturer wins.(10-11-2004)
  • Fatback having a good time: Michael “Fatback” McSwain, crew chief for #21-Ricky Rudd, was wearing a Cleveland Browns hat this weekend after donning a Dallas Cowboys cap at Talladega. Both teams happen to have defeated the Washington Redskins in the return season of coach Joe Gibbs, who also happens to own the #18 Chevrolet, which McSwain left in July.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(10-11-2004)
  • NBC Could be fined? The FCC could apparently fine NBC $27,500 for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s indiscretion [cuss word at Talladega][Winston Salem Journal)(10-11-2004)
  • NASCAR Looking at Stewart-Bliss Scuffle UPDATE Punch thrown?: NASCAR officials confirmed Sunday they are investigating a confrontation between drivers Tony Stewart and Mike Bliss that took place following Saturday’s Busch Series race at Kansas Speedway. The incident involved Stewart and Bliss as well as several others, said NASCAR vice president for corporate communications Jim Hunter. “There was apparently a little incident in a truck hauler after the Busch race and we’re going to continue to look into it,” he said. “We had some discussions (Sunday). It’s a Busch issue. We’ll decide what to do – if anything – after we have more details on what took place.” Hunter characterized the episode as a “minor incident amongst teammates, I might add.” Stewart and Bliss both drive for Joe Gibbs Racing, but Stewart was driving an entry for Chance2 Motorsports in the Busch race Saturday. The two traded several bumps on the track during the race. Stewart, Bliss, JGR president J.D. Gibbs and Stewart’s Nextel Cup crew chief, Greg Zipadelli made trips to the NASCAR hauler Sunday morning. Gibbs stopped briefly to speak to reporters after his meeting. “We talked about some stuff that happened yesterday and I think we got it cleared up,” he said. “We’ll probably have to address it again this week some more and then move on.” Hunter said he didn’t want to get into the details of the incident, because NASCAR had yet to speak with some witnesses who were not at the track Sunday. Hunter said if a points penalty were involved as a result of NASCAR’s investigation, it would only involve Busch points. Stewart is currently one of 10 drivers competing in the Chase for the Nextel Cup. “In my opinion, it was something that carried over from the race track where tempers were involved and in the end, a lot of strong words and that sort of thing,” Hunter said.(ThatsRacin.com)
    AND Nextel Cup driver Tony Stewart was required to get a checkup at Kansas Speedway’s infield care center Sunday morning because he failed to stay there for one Saturday after his late-race wreck with Joe Nemechek. Hunter said Stewart had to have the checkup before he was allowed to race in Sunday’s Banquet 400.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-10-2004)
    UPDATE: According to observers this is what happened: On the track, Bliss was a couple of laps down and Stewart was the race leader when a caution flag came out. Stewart was coming up on Bliss, and Bliss waved him to pass on the inside, a wave that Stewart apparently missed. When Bliss held his high line, Stewart angrily popped him. That angered Bliss, who popped him back. The two traded a few more bumps and obscene gestures before the race resumed. After the race, Stewart waited in Bliss’ trailer to talk with him. The exchange became heated, and Stewart punched Bliss, wrestled him to the floor of the trailer and threw at least three more punches, according to witnesses.(more at Winston Salem Journal)(10-11-2004)
  • Green, Petty team to donate books…per lap UPDATE: Cheerios and First Book, a national children’s literacy organization, will donate 43 children’s books to a Kansas City area local chapter of First Book for each lap completed by Petty Enterprises’ Jeff Green and the #43 Dodge at Kansas Speedway Cup race. Should Green finish in the top 10, Cheerios will double their donation. In that case, the local Kansas City First Book chapter would receive nearly 23,000 books for needy families. The books-per-lap donation is part of the ongoing Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories program, which gets books into the hands of children. More than 60 percent of low-income families have no books at all in their homes for their children. The #43 Dodge will be sporting a special Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories paint scheme for the race. To kick off the weekend, Cheerios hosted children from Kansas City at two separate events. Green appeared at the Thornberry Unit of the Kansas City Boys & Girls Clubs on Thursday, Oct. 7, meeting the children and reading to them. In addition, children from Claude Huyck Elementary School came to Kansas Speedway Friday morning, Oct. 8, for a breakfast and story with Jeff Green. The children will then had the opportunity to watch practice from the grandstand. Over the past two years, through its Spoonfuls of Stories program, Cheerios has donated $1 million to First Book, and has distributed more than 10 million books to children across the country.(10-9-2004)
    UPDATE: Cheerios and First Book made it a storybook finish at Kansas in Sunday’s NASCAR NEXTEL race. The two had pledged to donate books to kids in low-income families in the Kansas City area depending on how many laps Jeff Green and the #43 Cheerios team completed in Sunday’s race. At 43 books per lap completed, that total came to 11,266. A top-10 finish would have doubled that pledge. Cheerios and First Book, a national children’s literacy program, will still make the full donation, though – 22,962 books – the total that was promised if Green had completed all 267 laps and finished in the top 10. The books-per-lap donation is part of the ongoing Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories program, which gets books into the hands of children. More than 60 percent of low-income families have no books at all in their homes for their children.(Williams Company PR)(10-11-2004)

October 10, 2004

  • Arnold Motorsports Picks up an Assoc sponsor: U.S. Micro Corporation joins the #50 Arnold Motorsports team as an associate sponsor for the remainder of the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup season beginning this weekend in Kansas City. U.S. Micro Corporation will also be the official computer provider to Arnolds Motorsports, supplying laptops, desktop PSc, monitors, servers and printers. The equipment will be used in every phase of the team’s operation, from administration functions to car engineering and testing. “The relationship with this fine company will allow us to upgrade our computer equipment in every phase of our operation,” said team owner, Don Arnold. “We look forward to having them on board for the remainder of the season and look forward to a long-lasting relationship.”
    “U.S. Micro was involved in NASCAR Nextel Cup racing in 2002 and 2003 as a sponsor with Brett Bodine Racing and found that this sport offers us opportunities in all parts of the country; increased local and national exposure for our company, customer and prospect entertainment opportunities and incentives and rewards to offer our employees. We are excited about rejoining the sport ,” stated Jim Kegley, president of U.S. Micro Corp. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. Micro Corporation is a national computer disposal, refurbish leasing and sales company. The company purchases and securely removes entire PC systems from major corporations, refurbishes and resells them, and has an array of computer-related services, from asset removal and liquidation to hardware redeployment to custom configurations.(Arnold Motorsports PR)(10-10-2004)
  • Martin Tests In-Car Caution Lights: A question about NASCAR’s failure to implement the in-car caution-light system. Martin just tested a similar system in an ASA car he’ll run at Charlotte this month, an audible system. “It goes right through your radio and goes ‘Beep-beep-beep’ every time the yellow flag comes out,” Martin said. “That’s nice. I’ve been very critical of NASCAR for not going with that system. I’ve heard that they’re concerned people could tamper with that system, because there are smarter people with more money here than in ASA, and if someone could make yours go beep-beep-beep, they could change the outcome. That sounds about ridiculous. Now there are a lot of smart people in this garage, but I don’t see people being that underhanded. That would be pretty mean. That radio caution system is really good, because then everybody knows when there’s an accident. When you see an accident you can’t let off; you have to wait for the caution, and that’s not great. We see accidents from time to time and have to look around to see if everybody else is backing off. Because you can’t see a yellow light (on the track wall) when you’re racing and you’ve got 30 cars around you.” The cost of such an in-car caution light system is cheap at $400, for the safety edge it could provide.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-10-2004)
  • Jarrett talks to NASCAR about chase changes: #88-Dale Jarrett has been talking with NASCAR executives about possible changes to the championship points system for next season. “After the first race at Loudon, where Tony (Stewart) and Jeremy (Mayfield) had their problems, I would propose that you would take those 10 teams and, even though they’re still racing against everybody, that their point structure would only be for those 10 cars,” Jarrett said. “Say Jeff Gordon finished fifth and he was the first one of those 10 drivers; he would get the 180 points for being the highest finisher of those, and then the next guy might be Elliott, who might finish 10th, but he would be the second-highest and he would get 170. “The most anybody could lose would be somewhere between 50 and 55 points, so you’re going to keep everybody closer for an extended period of time.”(Winston Salem Journal)(10-10-2004)


    October 9, 2004

  • 2005 Tire Testing at Lowe’s: A pair of cars tested at Lowe’s Motor Speedway this past week as Goodyear continues finding a tire package for the new inch-shorter spoiler that will be run in NEXTEL Cup in 2005. The drivers who accepted the challenge were #01-Joe Nemechek and #18-Bobby Labonte. The test took place Tuesday evening at LMS and began with cars set to 2004 specification. Once Goodyear engineers were comfortable with the 2004 spec car the files came out, chewing an inch off the rear spoilers of both cars. With the car in 2005 trim the drivers took turns making runs, under Goodyear’s leadership. One driver worked construction variant tires will the other handled various compound tires. According to the Goodyear men the drivers found comfort in similar tires that brought peace to Greg Biffle and the rest that tested at Las Vegas several weeks ago. After further adjustments on the cars both drivers seemed to like what they had under them. Mark Martin was scheduled to do the Goodyear tests at Charlotte but as one of the Chase for the Championship drivers he was precluded from the session. When Goodyear picked Martin for the test he was 14th in the points. One Goodyear engineer joked of Martin’s scrubbed involvement, “Geez, He gave up the opportunity to test for us for a shot for the 2004 Cup championship and the riches that come with it? I don’t know about that guy anymore.”(Team Ford Racing)(10-9-2004)
  • Another RCR Swap in the works? AND II: hearing that Richard Childress Racing could swap entrie teams again, with the current #30 driver, Jeff Burton and crew going to the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy, currently driven by Robby Gordon. Cingular Wireless can stay in the sport, only if they stay on the #31 Chevy with RCR. The crew of the #31 could go to the #30 with either Gordon [unlikely] or another driver [Ricky Craven? Dave Blaney?], have hear that AOL may or may not be back in 2005, but Richard Childress has said before, if AOL opts not to to return, he has another option for a sponsor.
    AND Richard Childress said that he would be making announcements soon, possibly by the end of October. In the Nextel Cup Series, RCR has Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton signed with multi-year deals, but Childress will have to make the decision whether to retain Robby Gordon. Childress is also working to make sure AOL returns as Burton’s sponsor in 2005. “We’re probably going to make those announcements around Atlanta or a little after,” Childress said. “We pretty much have everything in place. You know, we are going to make adjustments all throughout or organization. We’re going to make a few adjustments, everything from Cup to Busch.”(NASCAR.com)(10-8-2004)
    AND II: hearing if AOL doesn’t come back to the #30 car, the sponsor could be Motorola.(10-9-2004)
  • Ford Taurus in 2005, Fusion in 2006: Ford is expected to continue racing the Taurus in NASCAR for 2005, though that car will be relegated largely to fleets, as the 2005 Ford Five Hundred sedan becomes the company’s focus for the passenger-car market. Ford will not race the Five Hundred, but is expected to race the 2006 Ford Fusion, a Taurus-sized sedan based on the Mazda6 platform. That car was originally called the Ford Futura, but Pep Boys, the parts supplier, used the Futura name for its line of tires, and Ford and Pep Boys could not come to an agreement, even though the Futura name was used by Ford for a Falcon model. Ford already uses the name “Fusion” in Europe.(Orlando Sentinel). The change to Fusion will go hand-in-hand with the ‘car of tomorrow’ being designed and tested by NASCAR.(10-9-2004)
  • Keeping, buidling motorsports industry in Mooresville is now a high priority: Following Gov. Mike Easley’s assertion here this week that the $5 billion generated by the motorsports industry in North Carolina each year could be grown despite other states’ bids to strip it away, area leaders say Mooresville is at the forefront in keeping – and building — racing businesses. “We were the first Chamber to go to PRI,” Melanie O’Connell Underwood said, referring about the Mooresville-South Iredell (MSI) Chamber of Commerce’s visit to the world’s largest motorsports trade show, Performance Racing Industries, in Indianapolis. As the MSI economic developer, she helps lure businesses here, and a major component of those are motorsports-related, like race teams, marketing firms, and parts suppliers. That warranted a trip to PRI. “After we went, Texas, Virginia and other states started going,” she said. Now, MSI has a booth at the show. But that’s not all that the area is doing to preserve and grow racing jobs, she said. “We were the first to offer incentives to race teams,” she said. Mooresville, for example, recently gave tax incentives to Penske Racing South for buying and retrofitting the former Matsushita building in Mooresville Business Park. But other states are getting wise to North Carolina’s 30th largest industry. Underwood said South Carolina offered free land and no employment taxes for 10 years to a motorsports-related company looking to make a $40 million investment in a facility. “Where could I go to give people free land?” Underwood said. “I can’t give land to them or any other industry.” Despite that, racing has been growing in this state for years.
    “The industry has asked for nothing, NASCAR has asked for nothing,” said N.C. Rep. Karen Ray of Mooresville, who is also head of the motorsports caucus in the General Assembly. “What has happened is the state now recognized the investment that the NASCAR and racing has put in North Carolina.”
    And Easley spoke about that on Tuesday at the Mooresville Citizens Center during the North Carolina Motorsports Association’s (NCMA) annual meeting. A study funded by the Rural Economic Development Center, the Golden LEAF Foundation, and the NCMA showed that motorsports brings big money to the state. In all, motorsports accounts for more than 24,000 jobs in N.C. with an average pay (wage and benefits) of $61,017. Easley plans cater to that industry’s needs by forming a task force to see what it wants for an ideal business environment. Composed primarily of people in racing, that group will make recommendations on where to put efforts. “What I think is critical for North Carolina as we move forward to enhance this industry for the state is that we be methodical, have a business plan, and do it right,” Ray said. “We’re crawling before we walk, and that plays a big part for how you do it correctly. When you leave North Carolina and you ask somebody what North Carolina is famous for, they’ll tell you, ‘Racing,’ ” Ray said. (Mooresville Tribune)(10-9-2004)
  • GM Goodwrench Unveils 2005 Daytona 500 Paint Scheme: GM Goodwrench unveiled at Kansas Speedway, the 2005 Daytona 500 paint scheme that will help kick off their 20th anniversary with Richard Childress Racing (RCR) in NASCAR. The multi-colored #29 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, a combination of the different looks that GM Goodwrench has been a part of over the years, is only the beginning of a yearlong celebration planned to commemorate the great partnership that has brought so much to stock car racing. As a sponsor, GM Goodwrench has enjoyed unparalleled success during its relationship with RCR, accumulating six NASCAR Winston Cup Series championships, a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship, 68 race wins, the biggest Daytona 500 victory in the modern era, and two stunning Brickyard 400 wins. The special paint scheme, designed by famed NASCAR illustrator Sam Bass, unites old with new by combining the original black #3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet driven by Earnhardt in 1988 with the white #29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet first driven by Harvick in 2001. The 20th anniversary logo commemorating the 20 years with RCR sits on the silver hood that adorned the GM Goodwrench paint scheme run throughout the 2002 season. GM Goodwrench plans for next year’s 20th anniversary celebration are going to be widespread, with several unique special paint schemes in store, a number of parties, special guests from the past, innovative promotions, and even a few surprises. Being the longest continuous team sponsor in the sport allows for some excitement to be had throughout the year. (Champion Sports Group/RCR PR), added an image of the car on the 2005 Paint Schemes page.(10-9-2004)
  • No Yellow at Talladega, some drivers wonder why? NASCAR’s decision not to issue a yellow flag despite Greg Biffle’s last-lap crash at Talladega Superspeedway caused rumblings in the Nextel Cup garage at Kansas Speedway yesterday. Elliott Sadler said he was confused and concerned by the call, which allowed the race to end under green. “If I was in a wreck, especially at Talladega, I’d want the safety guys to roll as fast as they can,” Sadler said. “We need to figure out if that happens again, are we just going to race back and then worry about the guy who wrecked or throw the caution? We want a consistent pattern. It’s frustrating they didn’t throw it when Greg could have been hurt. We want to make sure our safety workers can get to us.”(Roanoke Times)
    AND Sadler admits the spring Talladega finish could have influenced NASCAR officials. During that race, series officials allowed the race to end under caution, angering fans who littered the track with debris. A NASCAR official said a caution was not thrown because the pack was by the accident and because of the size of the track. Drivers had plenty of time to slow after crossing the finish line before getting back to the crash scene on the 2.66-mile speedway.(Roanoke Times)(10-9-2004)
  • Bleep doesn’t mean no penalty: Five-second delay or not, it’s still not OK to use profanity on TV. That’s what NASCAR president Mike Helton said Friday. A bleeped-out oath will not excuse the offending driver from disciplinary action from NASCAR. “That delay doesn’t protect them,” said Helton. “First of all, the delay doesn’t necessarily mean the word won’t get through, and even if it doesn’t get through, it will still be obvious that an offensive word was used, even if the actual word doesn’t get out.” Helton conceded, however, that NASCAR officials will not likely take away points from a driver or owner whose profanity is bleeped out by TV censors. Radio will join the rush to delay, by the way. Motor Racing Network president David Hyatt announced on Friday that a seven-second audio delay would be implemented beginning with Sunday’s Banquet 400. Performance Racing Network, the Speedway Motorsports entity that broadcasts most of the races not assigned to MRN, began using a delay earlier this year.(Gaston Gazette)(10-9-2004)


    October 8, 2004

  • Race Elliott Sadler: Gamers who think that they can race like a pro will finally have a chance to race one, when NASCAR Nextel Cup Series “Chase for the Cup” contender Elliott Sadler takes on all comers on Xbox Live. Sadler will fire up Electronic Arts’ groundbreaking racing game, NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup, in the latest Xbox Live “Game with Fame” event. For 90 minutes gamers will get to tear up the track with Sadler, currently eighth in the series point standings. The event will take place on Wednesday, October 13, 2004 from 3:00 – 4:30pm/et. Gamers will be allowed to race side by side with Sadler by logging onto Xbox Live and challenging Gamertag: Candyman38. For more details on how gamers can trade paint with one of NASCAR’s elite, visit the official “Game with Fame” site, prior to Wednesday’s event. Xbox Live’s “Game with Fame” gives game fans the opportunity to play on Xbox Live against some of today’s hottest stars. Past “Game with Fame” celebrity players include The Strokes, Hoobastank and Big Boi from OutKast. For further information on other Xbox Live events, be sure to visit the “Game with Fame” Web site at www.xbox.com.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(10-8-2004)
  • Weber back in the booth at Kansas: NASCAR on NBC & TNT play-by-play commentator Allen Bestwick underwent surgery one week ago to repair the broken left leg he suffered last week in a hockey game near his home in Coventry, R.I. Bestwick missed last Sunday’s NASCAR Nextel Cup race from Talladega, Ala. and will miss this Sunday’s Banquet 400 presented by ConAgra Foods from Kansas Speedway. Pre-race host and lead pit reporter Bill Weber will again fill-in for Bestwick calling the race from the booth with analysts Benny Parsons and Wally Dallenbach. Weber will host the pre-race show from a specially designed desk on the roof of the broadcast booth instead of his usual perch atop the NASCAR on NBC & TNT Wagon on pit road. Following the pre-race show, he will move to the booth to call the race with Parsons and Dallenbach. Pit reporters Dave Burns, Marty Snider and Matt Yocum will handle reporting duties on all 43 teams from the pits.(NBC PR), get well Allen.(10-8-2004)
  • Final Talladega TV Ratings down 1.8%: Final Nielsen Media Research numbers show NBC’s broadcast of last Sunday’s EA Sports 500 at Talladega Superspeedway drew a 5.4 rating, down 1.8 percent from the 5.5 of 2003.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(10-8-2004)
  • MRN goes to a 7-second Delay: the Motor Racing Network (MRN), the nation’s largest independent sports radio network, announced today that it will institute a seven-second audio delay in its NASCAR coverage, beginning with Sunday’s Banquet 400 Nextel Cup race at Kansas Speedway. “The millions of fans that tune in each week can still expect the quality programming from MRN which they are accustomed to,” said MRN President David Hyatt. ‘However, given the recent scrutiny in the broadcasting industry, we feel this is the right thing to do to protect our hundreds of local affiliates across the county.” MRN Radio is the primary source for NASCAR stock car racing and related radio programming in the United States.(MRN Radio Site)(10-8-2004)
  • Fisher to focus on NASCAR: Three-time Indy Racing League Most Popular Driver Sarah Fisher told MRN Radio/Sirius Speedway host Dave Moody Thursday that she is turning her focus to a NASCAR career. Fisher, who turned her first stock car laps in a NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series race last weekend, said Nextel Cup team owner Richard Childress was instrumental in getting her the ride, and that there may be other opportunities with Childress in her future. “I met Mr. Childress at a Chevrolet function, and he told me that if I ever wanted to take a ride in a stock car, to give him a call,” said Fisher. “ I waited awhile, and when it started to look like there was nothing happening in IndyCar, I called him. He put me together with Bill McAnally, whose car I drove in Phoenix last weekend, and I had a great time. It’s something I’d like to do more of.” Fisher confirmed that she tested a Childress car at Caraway Speedway recently, saying, “I think I did better than they expected to do.” She would not speculate on whether there might be another RCR-backed ride in her future, but said she has “lots more work to do” before climbing into a Busch or Nextel Cup car. “It’s different than anything I’ve done up until now, and I don’t want to get ahead of myself,” she said. “But wherever Mr. Childress thinks I should go, that’s where I’ll go.”(MRN Radio/Sirius Speedway)(10-8-2004)
  • FCC Looking at Dale Jr.’s slip: Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s use of a four-letter expletive Sunday in a live post-race interview on NBC after his win at Talladega Superspeedway is being reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission, Bloomberg News reported Thursday. An FCC spokesman was quoted in the news service report, which moved on general news wires Thursday evening. That report came several hours after NBC announced it would begin using a delay in such interviews, beginning with this weekend’s NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Kansas Speedway. “We’ve gotten a few dozen e-mail letters of concern,” FCC spokesman David Fiske said in an interview with Bloomberg News. “We’ll subject them to the normal review procedures, in which we look at the law, the precedent, the facts, and the context.”(ThatsRacin.com)(10-8-2004)
  • Stewart’s Benefit Concert a Success: Friends of Tony Stewart help to raise $276,235.00 at a benefit concert held in the newly constructed Luther F. Carson Four Rivers center in Paducah, Ky. Head liner was Diamond Rio, along with Trace Adkins. Drivers that particapated in the event were Tony Stewart, Kyle Petty, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Danny Lasoski. The event was Presented By: Bass Pro Shops & Hultman Inc.(10-8-2004)

    Tony Stewart being presented a check from Greg Hultman Owner of Hultman Inc. of Paducah, Ky.(Photo by Tim Parks)
  • Petty switches Engines? UPDATE 2: hearing that Petty Enterprises [PE], with drivers #45-Kyle Petty and #43-Jeff Green, will run Arrington Engines the rest of 2004 after Talladega and will supposedly have Evernham engines in 2005. Currently PE uses Mike Ege engines.(10-1-2004)
    UPDATE: Petty Enterprises will have a new engine supplier for 2005, Kyle Petty confirmed Saturday, but it is unclear who will build engines for Petty and Jeff Green next season. Mike Ege Racing Engines, which has built engines for the Pettys since 2002, will not return next year. “We’re at that time in the season where we need to be making a change,” Petty said. “We’ve talked about it for the last three or four months with Mike Ege Racing Engines, and it’s come to a point where it’s time to make a move. Next year, we’ll do something different.” The Dodges of Petty and Green will use Ege engines in this weekend’s EA Sports 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, and Ege has the option of staying with Petty Enterprises the rest of this year. “We’ve left that option up to him, if he chose to continue it or if he chose not to,” Petty said. “We’ll go from there. We have his stuff in down here.” But who will be in the #43 and #45 in 2005? Petty said rumors about a switch to Evernham Engines or Arrington Engines are simply rumors. “There are rumors about everything, man,” Petty said. “There are rumors I’m going to retire. What are you gonna do? That’s why they’re called rumors.” The team won’t return to building its own engines, as it did from 1949-2001. “We talked about it three or four months ago, whether we wanted to open our stuff back up,” Petty said. “We made a decision at this point in time not to go down that road. If we were two or three years further down the road, then, yeah, we’d probably look at it. But right now, no.”(NASCAR.com)(10-3-2004)
    UPDATE 2a: been told Petty Enterprises #43-Jeff Green and #45-Kyle Petty will NOT run Mike Ege Racing Engines at Kansas even though PE is supposed contracted with Ege thru 2005, Arrington engines will be used the rest of 2004, in 2005….? [Evernham?]. No word on what kind of legal action Ege may take.
    UPDATE 2b: Ray Evernham says he hasn’t signed any agreements with Petty Enterprises, but he is talking with them and some other teams about providing engines in 2005.(NASCAR Scene print)(10-8-2004)
  • Beam leaves PPI? UPDATE: hearing team Manager/crew chief Mike Beam has left the #32 Tide Chevy / PPI Motorsports (Cal Wells’ team) and will be the new crew chief for Michael Waltrip’s #99 Aaron’s Dream machine Busch team.(10-7-2004)
    UPDATE: Cal Wells says Beam wants to work in one of the other more time-friendly series so that he can spend more time at home. Beam is already mulling over offers in both the Busch and Truck Series.(FoxSports/Totally NASCAR)(10-8-2004)
  • It’s Front Row Joe again, this time at Kansas: #01-Joe Nemechek won the Budweiser pole at Kansas Speedway for the Banquet 400 with a speed of 180.156mph. The rest of the top five: #9-Kasey Kahne, #19-Jeremy Mayfield, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #18-Bobby Labonte. Best Ford qualifier is #16-Greg Biffle at 6th. For qualifying results, practice vs. qualifying speeds, pole progression, where the rookies qualified on Jayski’s Kansas Qualifying Results/Starting Lineup page.
    Talladega Qualifying Results/Starting Lineup Links at:
    ThatsRacin.com
    Motorsports One
    NASCAR.com.(10-8-2004)
  • Kansas Qualifying Notes:
    —- Joe Nemechek won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Bud Pole for the Banquet 400 presented by ConAgra Foods, lapping Kansas Speedway in 29.974 seconds at 180.156 mph. Jimmie Johnson holds the track-qualifying record of 29.938 seconds, 180.373 mph – set Oct. 3, 2003.
    —- This is Nemechek’s eighth career Bud Pole in 352 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races. His most recent Bud Pole came at Talladega, one race ago.
    —- It is Nemechek’s first start better than 12th in four races at Kansas.
    —- There have been four different Bud Pole winners in the four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Kansas Speedway: Jason Leffler (2001), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2002), Jimmie Johnson (2003) and Nemechek.
    —- Nemechek became the seventh multiple Bud Pole winner in 2004. Jeff Gordon (six), Ryan Newman (five), Kasey Kahne (four), Casey Mears (two), Brian Vickers (two) and Jeremy Mayfield (two) are the other drivers with more than one Bud Pole this season. Qualifying was canceled at Watkins Glen, second Michigan and second New Hampshire due to weather.
    —- This is the fifth time in 2004, that a driver has posted back-to-back Bud Poles, including four straight by Jeff Gordon (Michigan through Chicago). Casey Mears posted back-to-back Bud Poles at second Pocono and Indianapolis.
    —- This is 12th Bud Pole for Chevrolet in 2004. Dodge has 13 Bud Poles and Ford has two.
    —- Kasey Kahne had the second-fastest time with a qualifying lap of 30.125 seconds at 179.253 mph and will join Nemechek on the front row. It is his first race at Kansas. This is Kahne’s 12th top-10 start in 2004, including seven on the front row.
    —- Jeremy Mayfield (third) posted his 16th top-10 start in 2004. It is his first start better than 14th in four races at Kansas.
    —- Jimmie Johnson (fourth) posted his 18th top-10 start in 2004. It is his third consecutive start of fourth or better in as many races at Kansas. He started second in his rookie season (2002) and won the Bud Pole here in 2003.
    —- Bobby Labonte (fifth) posted his ninth top-10 start in 2004. It is his third top-10 start in four races at Kansas Speedway.
    —- Only four of the 10 drivers involved in The Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup qualified in the top-10: Mayfield, Johnson, Ryan Newman (seventh) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (eighth). All three of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Kansas have been won from a starting position of 11th or better.
    —- Jeff Gordon (30th) failed to qualify in the top-10 for the first time in his four races at Kansas Speedway. He and Bill Elliott were the only drivers to start in the top-10 in the first three Kansas races.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(10-8-2004)
  • Stock Car Fans Ramblings: Front Row Joe makes it two in a row! Joe Nemechek grabbed the Bud Pole today at Kansas Speedway for Sunday’s Banquet 400 presented by ConAgra Foods, and he was the only car under 30 seconds (29.974 to be exact, a speed of 180.156 mph). After taking last week’s top-spot at Talladega Superspeedway, this becomes pole #2 for the season and #8 in his Cup career. Joe will be joined on the front-row by Kasey Kahne, the 7th time the Rookie has started in either of the top two-spots.
    Bobby Labonte (5th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Texas in April.
    Greg Biffle (6th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 5th at Chicagoland in July.
    Brendan Gaughan (13th….and you gotta love that hair!) has his best starting spot since he started 10th at Pocono in July.
    Todd Bodine (20th) has his best starting spot since he started 7th at Atlanta last October!
    Jimmy Spencer (33rd) has his best starting spot since he lined up 33rd at the Brickyard in August.
    STREAKIN….Jeremy Mayfield has 8 Top-10 starts in a row.
    Jimmie Johnson has 4 Top-5 starts in the last 5 races.(Stock Car Fans Nextel Cup Newsletter)(10-8-2004)
  • Burton tests at Caraway: Jeff Burton and the #30 AOL Race Team tested Caraway Speedway (Asheboro, N.C.) Tuesday, Oct. 5 in preparation for the upcoming Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway.(RCR PR)(10-8-2004)
  • Ford Donates $5000: Dale Jarrett’s third-place finish in the EA Sports 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday results in another $5,000 donation from Ford Credit to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to help in its mission to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease. Ford Credit, a sponsor of Jarrett’s No. 88 UPS NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Taurus, now has donated $706,300 to the Komen Foundation based on Jarrett’s on-track performance and end-of-season bonuses since 1998 – including $37,500 in 2004. Ford Credit gives the Komen Foundation $10,000 for each of Jarrett’s victories, $7,500 for each second-place finish, $5,000 for each third-place finish and $5,000 for each pole position won (as fastest qualifier). Earlier this year, Jarrett won the non-points Bud Shootout at Daytona, finished second at Indianapolis, and finished third at Chicago and both Michigan races.(Ford Racing PR)(10-8-2004)
  • Blaney and FitzBradshaw? UPDATE: new news posted there but the FitzBradshaw Racing site [Busch #12, #14 and #82], HAD the #82 is listed as a ‘Winston Cup’ team with Dave Blaney driving [it has since been changed back to a Busch team and driver removed]. Have heard that former #49 Cup crew chief, Scott Eggleston, has been hired by FitzBradsahw and the #82 could be a Cup team AND heard it is the part-time Busch team that Randy LaJoie has run some races in. No idea on any more or a schedule if this is true.(10-8-2004)
    UPDATE: being told that the #82 with Bleney will be a Busch team only, could race as soon as Lowe’s Motor Speedway next weekend.(10-8-2004)
  • Leffler out at Kansas, Feese in; UPDATE Leffler back in OOPS – UPDATE 2…Leffler back out: Blake Feese, who is part of Hendrick Motorsports’ driver development program, was named to drive Gene Haas’ Busch Series car this weekend at Kansas Speedway. Feese replaces Jason Leffler, who has driven Haas’ #00 Haas Automation Chevry into third in the Busch standings on the strength of a Bud Pole, a victory and 17 top-10 finishes in 27 starts. “Jason is still under contract and has not been released,” Haas CNC Racing’s marketing director Carl Cline said. “Jason has simply been removed from the car for this weekend’s event and we’ll evaluate things on Monday. “We’re happy to help Hendrick Motorsports with their development program.” Feese drove a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet to victory last Saturday in the ARCA Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, his second ARCA victory this season for HMS in four starts, all of which have been top-10 finishes.
    Of late, Leffler’s name has been active in the rumor mill as a possible driver for Joe Gibbs Racing’s third fulltime team for 2005 in the Nextel Cup Series, a #11 Federal Express Chevy. Tuesday, Gibbs Racing president J.D. Gibbs was unavailable to comment on his organization’s plans for the 11 car, which used Ricky Craven as its driver at Talladega in its second race this season. Joe Gibbs Racing and Federal Express have scheduled a news conference for Oct. 13 at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport in North Carolina to announce their 2005 plans.(NASCAR.com/FoxSports Totally NASCAR)(10-5-2004)
    UPDATE – Leffler back in: Haas CNC Racing’s efforts to put newcomer Blake Feese in its #00 Chevrolet for Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series race at Kansas Speedway has apparently hit a last-minute snag. Jason Leffler, who has driven the #00 all season, obtained a temporary restraining order Late Thursday, preventing Haas from putting any other driver in the car, ThatsRacin.com has learned. The court order remains in effect until a hearing Friday morning, when Leffler’s attorneys are expected to argue for a permanent injunction. That would allow Leffler to remain in the #00 car this weekend and for the remainder of the season, sources confirmed Thursday night. Leffler has a contract to drive for Hass’ Busch program for the 2004 season. He is expected to be named to drive Joe Gibbs Racing’s third Nextel Cup entry, which is to debut next season. An formal announcement about Gibbs’ third team is planned for Wednesday. It has been widely reported that Federal Express will sponsor the new team and Wednesday’s announcement is scheduled at the FedEx ramp at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport. Earlier this week, Haas officials announced they were putting Feese, who has two Automobile Racing Club of America victories this season, in their #00 Chevrolet. The move would effectively end Leffler’s opportunity to compete for the 2004 Busch Series title, unless he could find another team for the remainder of the season. He is currently third in the standings.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-8-2004)

    UPDATE 2 – Leffler back out and Feese back in: Haas CNC Racing has prevailed in its legal face-off with driver Jason leffler and will have newcomer Blake Feese in its No. 00 Chevrolet for Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series race at Kansas Speedway. Jason Leffler, who has driven the #00 all season, obtained a temporary restraining order late Thursday, preventing Haas from putting any other driver in the car. A Wyandotte County (Kans.) judge dismissed that order Friday morning after Leffler’s attorneys argued for a permanent injunction. That would have allowed Leffler to remain in the #00 car this weekend and for the remainder of the season. Feese was practicing the car Friday morning at Kansas Speedway while attorneys for the two sides made their respective cases. Leffler, meanwhile, waited it out in his motorhome at the track. Leffler had a contract to drive for Haas’ Busch program for the 2004 season. He is expected to be named to drive Joe Gibbs Racing’s third Nextel Cup entry, which is to debut next season. An formal announcement about Gibbs’ third team is planned for Wednesday. It has been widely reported that Federal Express will sponsor the new team and Wednesday’s announcement is scheduled at the FedEx ramp at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport. Earlier this week, Haas officials announced they were putting Feese, who has two ARCA victories this season, in their #00 Chevrolet. The team’s move and the subsequent legal ruling jeopardizes Leffler’s opportunity to compete for the 2004 Busch Series title, unless he is able to find another team for the remainder of the season. He is currently third in the standings, behind leader Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch, the second-place driver. It was not known if Leffler planned to appeal Friday’s Wyandotte County court ruling.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-8-2004)


    October 7, 2004

  • Can you say ‘Hemi’? Sweeet: Jeremy Mayfield’s No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge will carry a special orange HEMI paint scheme for this weekend’s NASCAR Nextel Cup Series event at Kansas Speedway. The paint scheme is running to promote the success of the new HEMI engine available in many of Chrysler Group’s vehicles including the 2004 Dodge Ram, Dodge Durango, Dodge Magnum and Chrysler 300C. The special paint scheme will mark the first return of the HEMI brand to NASCAR Cup Series racing since the early 70s.(ClearBlue/Evernham Motorsports PR), see images of the scheme on my #19 Team Paint Schemes pageor the 2004 Cup Paint Scheme page.(10-7-2004)
  • NBC to use a 5-second delay: NBC Sports will institute a five-second delay in NASCAR coverage beginning Sunday from Kansas Speedway during the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Banquet 400. “We’re disappointed for our viewers to have to do this, but the delay provides a level of protection against anything inappropriate going out over the air,” said Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics. “We thought we could rely upon the precedent of NASCAR’s disciplinary action taken earlier this year when two Busch Series drivers uttered profanities during radio interviews.”
    “Our initial hope would have been to broadcast on delay only during pre- and post-race coverage, but by using the delay during competition, our pit reporters won’t be limited in interviewing drivers, crew chiefs and team owners as compelling stories inevitably unfold under the pressure and intensity of the moment.”
    “For more than a half century, most major American sporting events have aired live. While broadcasting on delay is extremely unfortunate, we’ve come to the conclusion that taking this step provides the additional safeguard needed in today’s climate.”
    The radio communication between teams and drivers during actual racing has always been heard on delay during NASCAR telecasts on NBC. Coverage on NBC of Sunday’s NASCAR Nextel Cup Banquet 400 presented by ConAgra Foods begins at 1:30pm/et with the “Discover Card Countdown to Green” pre-race show, followed by green flag racing at 2:00pm/et.(NBC PR)(10-7-2004)
  • Lots of Penalties, fines for infractions at Talladega:
    Roush Racing and Evernham Motorsports were issued the most severe penalties among the 12 overall for rules violations that occurred during this past weekend’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event at Talladega Superspeedway.
    Roush Racing received four of the penalties for an unapproved spoiler adjustment on the #16 National Guard Ford that occurred after pre-race inspection had been completed. Driver Greg Biffle was penalized 25 driver championship points; car owner Geoff Smith lost 25 championship owner points; crew chief Doug Richert was fined $25,000; and crew member Michael Hillman Jr. was suspended from NASCAR until Oct. 20 including the next two NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races, beginning with Kansas Speedway’s race this weekend. Hillman Jr. also was placed on probation until Dec. 31. The team was in violation of Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book.
    Evernham Racing received three penalties for an unapproved spoiler modification to the #9 Dodge that occurred after pre-event inspection and was discovered by NASCAR officials during pre-qualifying inspection. Driver Kasey Kahne was penalized 25 driver championship points; car owner Ray Evernham lost 25 championship owner points; and crew chief Tommy Baldwin was fined $25,000. The team was in violation of Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book.
    Pat Tryson, crew chief of the No. 6 Ford driven by Mark Martin, was issued a pair of fines for separate infractions that totaled $15,000. He was fined $10,000 for an unapproved air directional device and $5,000 for an unapproved windshield mounting. He was in violation of Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book. Both infractions were found by NASCAR officials during pre-qualifying inspection. Peter Rondeau, crew chief of the No. 1 Chevrolet driven by Kenny Wallace, was fined $10,000 for violating Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book/Technical Bulletin for unapproved spring mounting plates and bolts. The infraction was found during opening-day inspection. Michael McSwain, crew chief of the No. 21 Ford driven by Ricky Rudd, was fined $1,000 for violating Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book for unapproved windshield clips. The infraction was discovered during pre-qualifying inspection. Doug Randolph, crew chief of the No. 10 Chevrolet driven by Scott Riggs, was fined $500 for violating Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 17.2-C (Seat belts) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book for seat belts with an expired manufacturer’s date. The infraction was discovered during opening-day inspection.(NASCAR PR)(10-7-2004)
  • Dale Jr.’s Pit Crew Takes Over Points Lead After Talladega Win: Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s pit crew not only captured Sunday’s McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade at Talladega Superspeedway, but the No. 8 crew also took over the competition’s points lead which will pay the season champion a $200,000 bonus.
    It was the third time this season that Earnhardt’s crew won the $20,000 weekly prize – the other wins were at Rockingham and Richmond in May. The No. 8 crew, which played a vital role in Earnhardt’s victory in the restrictor-plate race, overcame a 19-point deficit to Elliott Sadler’s crew going into Talladega. Earnhardt’s crew earned 43 points for the win while Sadler’s crew picked up 22 points for finishing 22nd.
    With seven Nextel Cup races remaining, the McDonald’s/POWERade points race is shaping up to be a tightly-contested battle. The top-five crews are: Earnhardt Jr. (1031 points), Sadler (1029), Kurt Busch (1020), Kevin Harvick (1013) and Tony Stewart (997).
    Earnhardt’s Budweiser Chevrolet spent the least amount of time on Talladega’s pit road – 203.341 seconds. Busch’s Sharpie Ford was second at 211.299. Joe Nemechek’s No. 01 U.S. Army Chevy came in third with a time of 213.680.
    “Great pit stops all day,” said Earnhardt. “I believe every time we made a pit stop, we picked up positions. Tony Jr. made a great call there when we were coming in for a quick gas-and-go with about 12 or 11 to go. The caution came out just as we had entered pit road, so he was yelling ‘Put on two tires! Put on two tires!’ That was a split-second decision, and I think it was the difference in us winning and losing. Those two right-side tires made the car turn so much better, and I had ’em and nobody else did.”
    Tony Eury Sr., crew chief for the No. 8 team, said, “We’ve finally got our pit crew going the way we need it to. We made a few changes not too long ago, because we felt like if we’re going to make a serious run at this championship, we need to get our act together in the pits. Our pit stops have been really good last month, and it just so happens we’ve won two races and added a few more top-fives to go with them. Dale Jr. has done a great job driving the car, and the guys in the pits have done a great job getting him in and out.”
    The No. 8 over-the-wall crew consists of: Jeff Clarke (gasman), Kevin Pennell (jackman), Phil Drye (front tire changer), Danny Earnhardt (front tire carrier), Greg Burkhart (rear tire changer), Troy Prince (rear tire carrier), Craig Lund (catch can). Tony Eury Sr. is the crew chief and the car chief is Tony Eury Jr. The pit crew coach is Walt Smith.(DMF Communications PR and see top-10 from Talladega and season standings on my Pit Crew Page.(10-7-2004)
  • Speeds faster at Wed Martinsville test: Five NEXTEL Cup teams tested Wednesday at Martinsville Speedway for the upcoming Subway 500 on Oct. 24th [tickets available, see martinsvillespeedway.com – link fixed or call 877.RACE.TIX]. Only speedw reported, #40-Sterling Marlin and #48-Jimmie Johnson each ran a lap of 96.612mph, the qualifying record is held by Tony Stewart at 95.252. Other drivers testing Wednesday included #21-Ricky Rudd, #19-Jeremy Mayfield and #22-Scott Wimmer.(Martinsville Speedway PR), also, with the repaving and new concrete, the curbs were redone and are still there, no longer 6″ high and at an angle instead if straight.(10-7-2004)
  • Kyle Busch adds two Cup races to 2004 schedule: Hendrick Motorsports has added two NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series dates to the schedule of 19-year-old Kyle Busch, team owner Rick Hendrick announced Wednesday. Driving the #84 CARQUEST Chevrolets, Busch will compete Oct. 16 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and Oct. 31 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, marking his fifth and sixth career races in NASCAR’s most elite division. Busch, who has made Cup-level starts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Lowe’s Motor Speedway and California Speedway in 2004, will also enter Sunday’s 400-mile event at Kansas Speedway as announced in May.(Hendrick Motorsports PR/Site)(10-7-2004)


    October 6, 2004

  • Joe Gibbs Racing Announcement Oct. 13th: Officials from Joe Gibbs Racing and FedEx Corp. will make a major announcement about the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season at 12:00pm/et Oct. 13 at the FedEx Express Ramp at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, N.C.(JGR PR), for news and rumors on the team, see my #11 Team News and Links page and images on my #11 Team Paint Schemes page.(10-6-2004)
  • Next win for Roush is #300: Roush Racing is going after its 300th victory this weekend in Kansas City. Founded in 1984, Roush Racing has 299 victories in NASCAR’s NEXTEL Cup Series, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series, and road course events (IMSA, SCCA)(Roush Racing PR)(10-6-2004)
  • Eury Sr. Back on Top at Talladega Wins WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race: Tony Eury Sr. reasserted his team’s dominance at Talladega Superspeedway. The #8 Chevrolet collected its fifth win of the season at the famed track, thanks in part to a gutsy call by Eury Sr. to take two tires on the final pit stop of the race. Eury’s pit strategy might have left Dale Earnhardt Jr. a ten-position deficit to overcome, but the fresh rubber gave him exactly what he needed to lead the charge to the checkered flag. The FANS awarded Eury’s gamble, voting him the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race. Over 70% of the fans who logged onto www.WYPALL.com agreed that Eury Sr.’s decision was the savviest move of the race. Tony Eury, Sr. remains in first place in the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief Challenge with nine wins. Chad Knaus and Robbie Loomis are tied for second place with four wins. Tommy Baldwin is in third place with three wins. Robbie Reiser and Matt Borland stand in fourth place with two wins. Pat Tryson, Larry Carter, Lee McCall, Donnie Wingo, Phillipe Lopez, and Pete Rondeau are tied for fifth place, each with one win. The crew chief with the most weekly wins at the end of the season will be named WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and receive $10,000.00. For more information, visit www.wypall.com.(WYPALL PR)(10-6-2004)
  • Waltrip to Make 600th Career NASCAR Cup Start at Kansas Speedway: #15-Michael Waltrip will make his 600th career Nextel Cup start at Kansas Speedway in Sunday’s Banquet 400. “When I left Kentucky, I knew I wanted to be a Cup Series driver. With a lot of help from a lot of people and a never quit attitude, I was able to start my Cup career. Since that point, it has been a fun ride. Winning is what it is all about. Being able to win several (NASCAR) Busch Series races and a couple of Daytona 500s has given me a sense of accomplishment and gives me the drive to continue being a winning racecar driver.”(Falgren PR)(10-6-2004)
  • Dale Jarrett Named 3rd Qtr NASCAR USG Person of the Year: Using his love of golf, Dale Jarrett recently hosted two golf outings to raise approximately $100,000 for the Dale Jarrett Foundation. In addition, the Dale Jarrett Foundation co-hosted a benefit concert in Hickory, N.C. for the new C.O. Miller Teen Center at the Hickory Foundation YMCA. Jarrett and his wife, Kelley founded the Dale Jarrett Foundation, which supports the Victory Junction Gang Camp, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Brenner Children’s Hospital, Hospice and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, in 2002. For his efforts, Jarrett has been named the third quarter NASCAR USG Person of the Year winner. USG (United States Gypsum), an Official Promotional Partner of NASCAR, is in its second year as sponsor of the NASCAR USG Person of the Year program. The award is designed to honor drivers not only for their accomplishments on the track, but for their community service contributions and charitable efforts.
    To determine the NASCAR USG Person of the Year Award winner, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season is divided into four quarters. Drivers are nominated for their off-track efforts during each quarter, and a select group of panelists will choose one of the four quarterly finalists as the NASCAR USG Person of the Year. This award will be presented the week of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Awards Ceremony in New York City in early December, along with a prize of $100,000. The prize will be divided evenly between the driver and the charity of his/her choice. Other notable nominees are Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Burton. Gordon was the first quarter nominee, while Elliott Sadler was named the second quarter nominee.
    In addition to the NASCAR USG Person of the Year, USG also sponsors the Driver of the Race Award, which goes to the eligible winning driver of each of the 36 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship events. Each USG Driver of the Race Award winner receives $2,500 with an additional $2,500 going to the charity of his/her choice.(NASCAR PR)(10-6-2004)
  • So why can ppc have a tobacco as a sponsor? The VB sponsorship is interesting, being the first tobacco brand the set up a full-time effort in Cup after the departure of R.J. Reynolds as series sponsor after last season. Cigarette brands had been tacitly prohibited from advertising in NASCAR due to the primacy of RJR, although so-called “smokeless” modes were allowed. Moreover, VB is one of the smaller producers not covered by the 1997 Tobacco Settlement Agreement with state attorneys general. The TSA prohibited the top tobacco companies, such as RJR and Phillip Morris, from all sports advertising as of 2007 and required payment over time of a settlement in the hundreds of billions of dollars. The TSA hastened RJR’s exit from NASCAR. Smaller companies, however, are not included in the settlement, and various regional producers such as Bailey’s and Tucson have appeared at times as car sponsors.(Ben Blake Speed Channel)(10-6-2004)


    October 5, 2004

  • No Delay? Dale Jr. should had said ‘poop’ UPDATE fined and docked points TO APPEAL: been asked by readers if Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be fine/penalized for his on-air curse during his post-race-win interview at Talladega on NBC. That is up to NASCAR, but here are a few tidbits found accross the Internet on the situation:
    1) During the interview in Victory Lane with NBC’s Matt Yocum, Earnhardt Jr. was asked what it meant to win for the fifth time at Talladega. Earnhardt Jr. replied, “It don’t mean s— right now. Daddy’s won here 10 times.” NBC later issued an apology for the inappropriate language. After several media requests, NASCAR is reviewing the post-race videotape, according to spokesman Mike Zizzo. Any penalty would be handed down Tuesday at the earliest, Zizzo said.(NASCAR.com)
    2) ……off-color words he uttered on NBC during a postrace interview, which NASCAR is reviewing before deciding any disciplinary action. Earlier this season Johnny Sauter and Ron Hornaday Jr. each were fined $10,000 and docked 25 championship points for talking ‘dirty’ [using the same word…but in anger] during Busch Series broadcasts. If precedence holds, Earnhardt could go from 13 points ahead of second-place Kurt Busch to 12 points down with seven races left in the Chase for the Nextel Cup. “If anybody was offended by that, I can’t imagine why they’d tune in to a race in the first place,” Earnhardt said, later joking that he needed some Dale Carnegie classes. “There were a lot of hand gestures going on through the race, and that was weak compared to what you go through on the racetrack. But I hope they understand it was in jubilation. … When you’re happy and joyous about something, it’s different from being angry and cursing in anger.”(USA Today)
    3) Asked about the matter, NASCAR vp/communications Jim Hunter said, “We’re looking into it,” adding that a decision would be made by Monday or Tuesday. Earnhardt seemed strangely subdued after the race, apparently aware that his slip of the tongue could prove to be costly. “I’m worried about losing the points lead, because I don’t know what kind of deal will come out of it,” he said. “If you guys [press] push the issue, in three or four days it could be a big problem. I just hope everybody understands it came out of jubilation.”(Speed Channel)(10-4-2004)
    UPDATE – Fined and Docked 25 points: Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. was penalized with a loss of 25 championship driver points and a $10,000 fine for an inappropriate post-race comment during the live national television broadcast of Sunday’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR officials announced today. Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #8 Budwesier Chevrolet, was in violation of Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book for using inappropriate language. The penalty also will extend to the team as Dale Earnhardt Inc. will lose 25 championship owner points for the actions of its driver. Earnhardt Jr.’s championship points total will be adjusted from 5,543 points to 5,518 as a result of the penalty, and will drop him from first to second in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. Kurt Busch and Roush Racing will assume the lead with 5,530 points, 12 ahead of Earnhardt Jr. and DEI, respectively.(NASCAR PR)
    TO APPEAL: XM Radio – NASCAR Channel 144 reports that DEI will appeal the penalty.
    DEI Statement/Appeal: Dale Earnhardt, Inc. announced today that the #8 Budweiser eam that fields Chevrolet Monte Carlos for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in the Nextel Cup Series, will appeal the NASCAR-imposed post-race penalty that cost the team 25 championship points and $10,000. Richie Gilmore, DEI Director of Competition, cites that the 25- point penalty under the new 10-race “Chase for the Nextel Cup” format could be devastating with only seven races remaining. “This is a huge setback for the entire company,” Gilmore said. “We’re in a sport that focuses its primary attention on the final 10 races of the season and we’re racing against formidable teams for a championship. We’re facing a setback from a competition standpoint for something that should be considered a personal foul. We have no choice but to appeal the points portion of the penalty. I think we’re the only sport that takes points off of the board after they’ve been scored. The popularity of this sport is based on colorful personalities and the fact that everyone can relate to these drivers and their emotions. Now, it seems like that’s a detriment. Dale Jr.’s comment was made in the excitement of the moment, seconds after he climbed out of the car. It wasn’t made in anger or hostility directed at anyone. This whole incident is going to force everyone in the sport to rethink showing any excitement in what should be a jubilant moment. We’ve had hundreds of calls from fans that support us. Our sponsors have vowed their support, as well. If nothing else, we can look back at this race and always remember it as one where we were reminded of the loyalty everyone has toward Dale Jr., the No. 8 team and our company.”(DEI Site)(10-5-2004)
  • NASCAR’s appeal process
    1. A written request for an appeal must be made to the National Stock Car Racing Commission within 10 calendar days of the notice of the penalty.
    2. The Chairman of the National Stock Car Racing Commission will set a date and location.
    3. From the pool of 31 commission members, the chairman will be joined by a minimum of two to constitute a quorum. Commission members are selected based on their knowledge and experience. They include men and women from a variety of motorsports backgrounds, some active in the sport and some retired. They include promoters, industry leaders, and dignitaries from other forms of professional motorsports.
    4. Appeal would be heard; decision handed down.
    5. If the team is not satisfied with the decision, they could make a final appeal to the National Stock Car Racing Commissioner Charles D. Strang. All decisions by the commissioner are final.
  • Busch’s Reaction to the penalty: Taking time out from testing at Martinsville, new Nextel Cup point leader Kurt Busch reacted to the penalties against Dale Earnhardt Jr. following his victory lane slip of a curse word at Talladega. Busch told PRN’s Mark Garrow “I wanna say we want to beat the 8 car out on the race track and not with the penalty.What he (Dale Jr) said is true emotion in victory lane and it wasn’t quite appropriate and so it was good to see they (NASCAR) handled it consistently. NASCAR’s always in that box of are they consistent with their decisions….do they hold somebody to different standards. It was a decision they had to make and now we go on.” If the championship came down to Busch and Earnhardt Jr. Kurt said, “I want to go into the last race with a 155 point edge and that we don’t have to worry about that last race.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(10-5-2004)
  • So….does Dale Earnhardt Jr. still get awarded the NASCAR Nextel Cup Leader Bonus for winning the race and leading the points? It was $90,000 at Talladega.
    Been told that Dale Jr. gets to keep the award and money as it was post-race penalty – he had the win and the lead in the points following the race.(10-5-2004)
  • Sad News: Henry Lowery, Steve Lowery’s father, passed away on Monday morning, October 4. Steve Lowery is the chief scorer for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. Services for his father is as follows:
    Visitation: Brooks Funeral Home, 115 Main Street South Boston, VA 24592 on Tuesday, October 5, 2004 from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm Service: Brooks Funeral Home Chapel, Wednesday, October 6, 2004 at 4:00 pm
    In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be made to the Florence Avenue Baptist Church Building Fund.(10-5-2004)
  • Testing at Kentucky: #88-Dale Jarrett is scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway, Tuesday, Oct 5th; on Oct 6th, #77-Brendan Gaughan [wonder if Kvapil will run?] and #25-Brian Vickers will test. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(10-5-2004)
  • Martin to do a triple at Atlanta: As if competing for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup championship wasn’t enough, Mark Martin announced today that he will compete in three races during the Oct. 29-31 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Martin will return to his roots on Friday, Oct. 29, competing in the ASA 150 for Atlanta-based World Financial Group, with associate sponsorship from longtime AMS sponsor Gresham & Associates. Martin, 45, began his racing career in the American Speed Association (ASA), logging 143 starts, which produced 22 race wins and four titles. Martin will continue logging miles during the Oct. 30 Aaron’s 312 Busch Series race in his #9 Roush Racing Ford sponsored by Cottman Transmissions. First on the all-time Busch Series win list, Martin already has three victories and two pole positions in Atlanta Busch Series events. On Sunday, Oct. 31, Martin will return to his #6 Viagra Ford for the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500, the seventh of 10 races in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup. The only race that Martin will miss all weekend at Atlanta is the Crown Royal IROC season championship. “But I’ll be working on my champion’s invite for next year,” Martin said with an impish grin. Martin is scheduled to test at Atlanta on Monday, Oct. 18.(AMS PR)(10-5-2004)
  • #8 too low? been getting unsubstantiated reports all day Monday that #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Budwesier Chevy was found too low in post race inspection, but sources tell me the car was not too low, that a rumor broke put before the car even made it to inspection and that NASCAR reported to the media that all cars inspected, had passsed. Saw no columns/articles about the #8 being too low at all.(10-5-2004)
  • Fisher qualifies 14th in first NASCAR race UPDATE 2 RCR? Hendrick?: Mike Duncan from Bakersfield, CA won the pole position for Sunday’s NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series Subway 150 with a fast time of 28.391 seconds, 126.801 mph. The mark was well off the track record of 27.822 seconds, 129.394 mph set by Steve Portenga in March of 2000, but considering the temperature was in the low ’90s it was still a pretty fast lap. IRL IndyCar Series veteran Sarah Fisher qualified 14th in her NASCAR debut. The rookie driver ran a respectable 29.625 seconds, 121.519 mph in her first attempt in West Series racecar.
    Eric Holmes drove his KENCO/Paul Oil Co./Taco Bell Chevy to a fast time of 27.656 seconds, 130.171 mph to win the pole for Sunday’s J.C.’s Glass 100 for the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series race. Sunday’s NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series J.C.’s Glass 100 gets the green flag at 1:00 p.m. PST, with the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series Subway 150 scheduled to begin at 3:00 p.m. Raceday tickets are available at the track or by phone at 602-252-2227, or online at phoenixraceway.com.(PIR PR)(10-3-2004)
    UPDATE: Scott Lynch won his second consecutive Subway 150 at Phoenix International Raceway’s NASCAR DoubleHeader. Last year’s NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series Rookie of the Year led mid-race and then had to climb back through the field to re-take the point at lap 103 of 150, beating second place Scott Gaylord and Johnny Borneman. IRL veteran Sarah Fisher, making her first NASCAR start, qualified 14th and ran in the top ten until she retired with electrical problems, finishing 21st.(PIR Site)
    AND Sarah Fisher got her first taste of NASCAR racing yesterday in Phoenix, and Richard Childress will be doing a post-race analysis this week. Fisher, a 24-year-old racer and an Indy-car veteran with a sponsor that wants to take her NASCAR racing, is a top General Motors project, and Childress is helping. “We’re just trying to further her career in stock-car racing, to let her go out and do it and see how she likes it,” Childress said. “If you don’t try it and race against those guys, you won’t know if you like it. Bill McAnally (the car owner supplying the equipment) is a good friend of mine and I worked it out with him. He may run her some more. This is just a test to see if she likes it.”(Winston Salem Journal)
    AND II Childress says Fisher, 24, could be in a Busch car later this year. Testing Fisher in a Cup ride also is possible.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(10-4-2004)
    UPDATE 2: Fisher is to tour Hendrick Motorsports this week to learn more about the financial side of a NASCAR operation.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-5-2004)


    October 4, 2004


    from the Detroit News
     by David Guralnick

  • The New Dodge Charger will be in NASCAR: Fresh off a big product year, DaimlerChrysler AG’s Chrysler Group is preparing for what could be another hit, a resurrected version of its classic muscle car, the Dodge Charger. The new Charger, which debuts at the Detroit auto show in January, arrives as other Detroit automakers are trotting out modern updates of old road kings like the Ford Mustang and Pontiac GTO in hopes of winning back the hearts of U.S. car buyers. The new Charger is crucial to the Dodge brand’s attempt to revive its passenger car lineup and the Chrysler Group’s nascent turnaround. But the car’s return is generating nearly as much debate as enthusiasm. Fans of the original street rocket say a four-door sedan does not deserve the Charger name. Others are happy just to see the badge back in the lineup after disappearing in the late 1980s. One unknown, however, is the boost Dodge could experience from reintroducing Charger to NASCAR racing next year. The Hemi-powered Charger of the 1960s was once the car to beat on the circuit and helped drive consumer demand. The new Charger debuts at the Daytona 500 in February, one of the biggest sporting events of the year, and could attract notice.(In part from the Detroit News)(10-3-2004)
    UPDATE: Dodge Motorsports officials are expected to formally unveil the manufacturer’s new entry to the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series on Monday. News and an illustration of the new Dodge Charger appeared in Sunday editions of both the New York Times and Detroit Free Press. Dodge, which had been utilizing the Intrepid model since its return to NASCAR in 2001, has a strong track record with the Charger. Dodge racked up 124 wins with the Charger between 1966 and 1977, with 37 of those coming from seven-time Cup champion Richard Petty. The most recent Charger win came on Nov. 20, 1977, at Ontario (Calif.) Motor Speedway. Three drivers won Cup championships using the Charger – David Pearson (1966), Bobby Isaac (1970) and Petty (1972, 1974 and 1975).(ThatsRacin.com)
    UPDATE 2 – It’s Official: got a PR today, which says “The Dodge Charger returns to Dodge showrooms and NASCAR race tracks around the country in 2005. Stay tuned…”(ClearBlue/Dodge PR)
    see past news on my Dodge News Page and other images of the car on my 2005 Cup Paint Scheme page.(10-4-2004)
  • Overnight TV Ratings for Talladega slip: NBC’s coverage of Sunday’s EA Sports 500 at Talladega Superspeedway drew a 4.6 overnight rating and a 9 share from Nielsen Media Research, today’s Sports Business Daily reports. The overnight rating represents a 2.1 percent drop from last year’s overnight 4.7. The 2003 race went on to earn a final 5.5/12, which NASCAR said was the highest rating any auto race had ever earned against professional football broadcasts.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(10-4-2004)
  • Crewmen OK: The first round of pit stops was rough on a couple of crew members Sunday at Talladega. Mike Sceace, the jack man for Kevin Harvick, made like a gymnast when Harvick overshot his pits. Sceace, who was carrying the jack, tried to leap over the hood but caught his foot and turned a flip. He recovered and got the jack in place for the tires to be changed. He was not injured. A crewman for Kyle Petty was hit by Petty’s car during the stop. He was taken to the infield hospital but eventually returned to the pits.(Alabama Live)(10-4-2004)
  • New Crew Chief for the #49:BAM Racing announced today the addition of David Hyder as the new crew chief of the #49 Schwan’s Home Service Dodge of driver Ken Schrader. Hyder, 37, a High Point, N.C. native, now living in Trinity, N.C., comes to BAM Racing after a four-and-a-half year stint with Petty Enterprises, where he held several positions, most recently, car chief of the #43. Accompanying Hyder in the transition is shock specialist, Dean Johnson. Spending most of his adult life in auto racing, Hyder drove late models for 17 years in various series including the Hooters Pro Cup and Slim Jim All Pro Series. Hyder then worked as a crew chief in the Hooters Pro Cup before moving to Petty Enterprises. At Petty Enterprises he spent the majority of his tenure working as car chief on both the #45 and the #43.(Williams Company PR)(10-4-2004)
  • Mopar Scheme at Lowe’s for Kahne: This October, at the UAW-GM 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, the Mopar logo will adorn a NASCAR Nextel Cup Series entry for the first time in the brand’s history. During the event, the familiar #9 Dodge of Kasey Kahne will boast a new hue that features the blue, black, and silver colors representative of Mopar. This momentous occasion in Mopar’s history is one that signifies Mopar’s dedication to the sport of racing. “We are proud to have Kasey Kahne carry the Mopar logo for the UAW-GM 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway,” said Kevin Miller, Senior Brand, Performance Parts Portfolio and Brand Strategy for Mopar. “The race drivers who compete under the Mopar banner are among the best in the business, and Kasey Kahne is indicative of what the Mopar brand stands for. Having the Mopar logo showcased in a premier event such as the UAW-GM 500 represents what Mopar’s racing endeavors encompass – the longevity and staying power of the sport.” The Mopar “bling-bling” paint scheme that Kahne will carry was designed by Competition Graphics of Farmington Hills, Mich. Featuring the Mopar “M” logo, as well as the barbed wire paint scheme utilized by Team Mopar throughout the 2004 season, Kahne’s car will carry on the brand’s unique and authentic motorsports influence. Mopar is based in Center Line, Mich., and is the exclusive original equipment supplier of parts and accessories for Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles.(Kasey Kahne site)(10-4-2004)
  • Four of Ten…no mulligans yet: so far six of ten drivers in the Chase for the Nextel Cup have used their ‘mulligans’, meaning they have had trouble and fallen back in ‘the chase’:
    #48-Jimmie Johnson, #12-Ryan Newman [but won a race], #19-Jeremy Mayfield [2 accidents], #38-Elliott Sadler, #20-Tony Stewart and #17-Matt Kenseth have all had at least one bad finish in the three ‘chase’ races.
    #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. [won], #97-Kurt Busch [won], #6-Mark Martin and #24-Jeff Gordon have stayed out of trouble so far, average finish of the ‘Chasers’:
    #97-Busch, 3.7
    #8-Earnhardt Jr., 4.3
    #24-Gordon, 9.7
    #6-Martin, 10.0
    #17-Kenseth, 16.0
    #38-Sadler, 16.7
    #12-Newman, 16.7
    #20-Stewart, 17.0
    #48-Johnson, 19.3
    #19-Mayfield, 26.7
  • No more Happy Hour? NASCAR is considering reorganizing some Nextel Cup weekends for 2005, including cutting out Happy Hour. Many teams have complained there is too much idle time on the weekends and that the schedule should be more efficient. Under the usual schedule, teams show up, get inspected, practice and qualify on Friday, then have Happy Hour practice on Saturday afternoon. Dale Jarrett suggests teams could arrive and go through inspections on Friday but have practice and qualifying on Saturday. “We could definitely cut at least one day out of this,” Jarrett says. Nextel Cup director John Darby says cutting a day would be difficult. But eliminating Happy Hour, which would save money and time, is a possibility. Because teams have Happy Hour to find the right race setups, they use qualifying practice to work on qualifying setups. Without Happy Hour, many teams wouldn’t bother with the expense of qualifying setups. They’d practice and qualify in race setups. Eliminating Happy Hour also would give teams more down time on Saturday.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(10-4-2004)
  • Whoops…protest cancelled UPDATE on Sunday’s Press Conference: The National Association for Minority Race Fans canceled a protest planned for Sunday’s EA Sports 500 NASCAR race after track officials and police expressed concerns about security. “Our whole focus is to make NASCAR races a safer environment for minority fans,” Jirard Brown, director of the minority fans group, said Saturday. Instead of protesting, Brown said the organization’s leaders would hold a news conference at 11 a.m. Sunday on the grounds of the state-owned International Motor Sports Hall of Fame adjacent to Talladega Superspeedway to outline its plans.(ThatsRacin.com/AP), the ‘on-hold’ website has not been updated [as of 3am] or allow anyone but members to access it. Past news on the protest, see PAGE 2 – Oct 2.
    AND NASCAR said that the group has had a film crew traveling the country trying to interview various NASCAR sponsors about their corporate minority programs, and NASCAR said that the group appears to be well financed. Fox TV officials say that the group has sent slickly produced commercials and tried to buy airtime. But Fox said that the commercials were in such bad taste that they were sent straight to the company’s legal department.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-3-2004)
    UPDATE: on the press conference at Talladega: Saying his organization wants to “force NASCAR to create a safer race for all races,” National Association of Minority Race Fans director Jirard Brown spoke publicly to the media for the first time on Sunday. Brown, who identified himself as the group’s director, spoke to reporters in front of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, which sits near the main entrance to Talladega Superspeedway, the site of Sunday’s EA Sports 500 Nextel Cup race. Brown said NAMRF “isn’t impressed or satisfied with progress” in NASCAR’s diversity initiatives. “Let’s see NASCAR put its money where its mouth is,” he said. “Consider this NAMRF’s official invitation for a publicly televised debate on diversity and safety for its minority race fans.” Brown was joined by Shawn Griffith, who said he has spent three years documenting what he called “shocking, provocative” evidence to support the group’s claims that minorities and women face an unsafe environment at NASCAR events. The media gathering was held in place of a protest the group had told Alabama officials it planned for this weekend. Word that the protest had been called off was posted late Saturday evening on the group’s web site at www.namrf.com.
    Maj. Patrick Manning of the Alabama state police said law enforcement and speedway officials tried to work with the NAMRF officials to ensure security for up to as many as 450 protesters they planned to bring to Sunday’s race. The track set aside an area for the group to gather, but Manning said NAMRF wanted to break up into smaller groups and stage their protests along Speedway Boulevard in front of the 2.66-mile track. “My statement to them was if they wanted to get out onto Speedway Boulevard it was a traffic safety issue,” Manning said. “I think they twisted my remarks to make it sound like I said they would be in danger.”
    Brown said NAMRF had been told that NASCAR officials “told their people to avoid the infield.” He then asked, “If it’s not even safe for their own people in the infield, how can we be safe?” Ramsey Poston, director of corporate communications for NASCAR, said that NASCAR president Mike Helton did advise members of the teams at Talladega this weekend to be aware that there might be people in the infield with cameras looking for incidents that might reflect on the sport’s treatment of minority fans. Manning said he knew of no incidents of violence with racial implications that had been reported during this weekend’s events or in any race at Talladega in the five years he has been in charge of Alabama’s state police.
    Neither Brown nor Griffith would take questions. Brown said the group’s password-protected web site would open to the public at 1 p.m. Wednesday. It had originally been scheduled to open at midnight on Thursday before a countdown clock was stopped just more than two hours before reaching zero. Griffith said his film “documenting the life and times of NASCAR fans” will be released in February. “I think the results are shocking, provocative, to say the least,” he said. “I will leave it at that. We truly hope that our documentary will help NAMRF with their cause and find a way to seek their goals.” Poston, who was one of several NASCAR officials standing around the periphery as Brown and Griffith spoke, said the event was “the first time I’ve ever seen activists show up in stretch limos. The actions that these individuals continue to take raise questions about the group’s intentions and credibility,” Poston said. “It seems to me these individuals are aiming for a great deal of shock value, but they have continued to be very vague and generalized in almost everything they’ve said.”(in part from ThatsRacin.com)(10-4-2004)

October 3, 2004

  • USA WEEKEND’S ’04 Most Caring Athletes: For their vision and hard work to open a NASCAR fantasy camp for sick kids, Kyle Petty and Tony Stewart are USA WEEKEND’s Most Caring Athletes of 2004. They’ll share a combined award of $10,000 from the magazine. Here’s why they got our vote. See the full article by Dennis McCafferty at USA Weekend’s site, or check your local Sunday Newspaper for the print version.(10-3-2004)
  • Terry Labonte Announcement AND: #5-Terry Labonte has scheduled a press conference next week to announce his plans. Labonte is expected to announce his semi-retirement and run a partial schedule next year.(Tennessean)
    AND Labonte said Saturday he will run a schedule of at least 10 races each in 2005 and 2006 for Rick Hendrick, his car owner since 1986 [actually since 1994]. A formal announcement will be made at an Oct. 12 press conference at the Hendrick shops. Labonte, who has driven #5 for Hendrick, will switch to car #44, the number he drove for Billy Hagan from 1979-1986.(High Point Enterprise), so looks like Kyle Busch will move up to Cup in 2005.(10-3-2004)
  • Kerry Earnhardt to the Trucks? during the Truck Series race at California Speedway, it was mentioned that there is a chance that Kerry Earnhardt will race the #15 Bill Ballew truck in 2005. Shane Hmiel is driving the truck this year, has won a race and there is a good chance Hmiel will move up to Nextel Cup in 2005, running the #23 Dodge.(10-3-2004)
  • Petty switches Engines? UPDATE: hearing that Petty Enterprises [PE], with drivers #45-Kyle Petty and #43-Jeff Green, will run Arrington Engines the rest of 2004 after Talladega and will supposedly have Evernham engines in 2005. Currently PE uses Mike Ege engines.(10-1-2004)
    UPDATE: Petty Enterprises will have a new engine supplier for 2005, Kyle Petty confirmed Saturday, but it is unclear who will build engines for Petty and Jeff Green next season. Mike Ege Racing Engines, which has built engines for the Pettys since 2002, will not return next year. “We’re at that time in the season where we need to be making a change,” Petty said. “We’ve talked about it for the last three or four months with Mike Ege Racing Engines, and it’s come to a point where it’s time to make a move. Next year, we’ll do something different.” The Dodges of Petty and Green will use Ege engines in this weekend’s EA Sports 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, and Ege has the option of staying with Petty Enterprises the rest of this year. “We’ve left that option up to him, if he chose to continue it or if he chose not to,” Petty said. “We’ll go from there. We have his stuff in down here.” But who will be in the #43 and #45 in 2005? Petty said rumors about a switch to Evernham Engines or Arrington Engines are simply rumors. “There are rumors about everything, man,” Petty said. “There are rumors I’m going to retire. What are you gonna do? That’s why they’re called rumors.” The team won’t return to building its own engines, as it did from 1949-2001. “We talked about it three or four months ago, whether we wanted to open our stuff back up,” Petty said. “We made a decision at this point in time not to go down that road. If we were two or three years further down the road, then, yeah, we’d probably look at it. But right now, no.”(NASCAR.com)(10-3-2004)
  • #23 BDR Team hopes to get sponsor: Mike Brown, general manager at Bill Davis Racing, said he has “guarded optimism” that the team will find a sponsor for a second full-time team next season with Shane Hmiel expected to be the driver. Hmiel is scheduled to drive for the team at Kansas City, Atlanta and Homestead this season. Brown said the team decided not to run Hmiel this weekend because he is competing in a Craftsman Truck race at California Speedway. He won the truck race last week at Las Vegas.(Roanoke Times), that would give us at least one Raybestos Rookie of the Year Candidate in 2005.(10-3-2004)
  • #16 Spoiler Problems: just before the start of the EA Sports 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR brought the #16 Ford of Greg Biffle to pit road to adjust the spoiler. Supposedly the car didn’t meet the spoiler angle [55 degrees] measurement and NASCAR made the team adjust the spoiler to the proper angle. Biffle has to start the race at the end of the longest line, which means the back, Biffle was to start 12th.(NBC Race Coverage)(10-3-2004)
  • Budweiser Ford? Dale Earnhardt Jr. came into the Ken Patterson Media Center to field a few questions before the first session began. The program included an emcee to introduce the Chase for the Championship driver. As the emcee started her introduction, Junior began to sit up and prepare for the questioning. But that’s when the problem began. The emcee, said, “We’d like to welcome Dale Earnhardt Junior, the driver of the No. 8 Budweiser Ford.” Ford hung in the air for an interminable amount of time. While there were a few in the crowd who wondered momentarily if Dan Davis’ commitment to draw topflight race teams into Ford gear had paid huge dividends. But Earnhardt’s groan broke the silence indicating otherwise. The program got back on track after the emcee excused herself for the error, then introduced Earnhardt as the driver of the Budweiser Chevy.(Team Ford Racing)(10-3-2004)
  • #06 to promote Stocks for Tots: Chad Blount will carry the “Stocks for Tots” banner on the quarter panels of his #06 Penske Racing South Dodge in Sunday’s EA Sports 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in an effort to raise awarenesss for the charity. Founded in 1990 by Penske Racing South co-owners Don Miller and Rusty Wallace, Stocks for Tots has raised thousands of dollars and collected hundreds of toys for abused and neglected children in North Carolina. Proceeds from the motorsports community’s annual event have benefited the Exchange Club Child Abuse Prevention Center or Iredell County and Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN). This year’s 15th annual Stocks for Tots is 6-10 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Lakeside Business Park in Mooresville, N.C. To gain admittance, a donation of a new, unwrapped toy, or a cash donation is required. For more information, go to www.stocksfortots.com.(10-3-2004)
  • Bad Rookie: Rookie Carl Edwards was admonished by his team on the radio for going four-wide early in Saturday’s first practice session. Edwards apologized. He scraped the wall during the second practice session.(Roanoke Times)(10-3-2004)


    October 2, 2004

  • Go Rich – Not NASCAR but…AND: ARCA RE/MAX Series driver Rich Woodland will make his first start of the season in the Food World 300 at Talladega Superspeedway this Saturday in the ARCA Race, the season finale. Woodland, who has 32 ARCA RE/MAX Series starts to his credit, will be making his first appearance since the 2002 Talladega event. Woodland has split his time in 2004 as a spotter for drivers TJ Bell, and Mike Guerity. Woodland, a friend Jayski’s, will carry a JAYSKI.COM decal on the TV Panel of the #2 Pontiac Grand Prix. Woodland’s experience this season in the spotter’s stand has given him an excellent opportunity to review the ARCA competition. “From what I’ve seen, the ARCA Series is as competitive as ever. The Rookie class is sensational this year, and I’m looking forward to racing against them, especially TJ Bell, this weekend. It will be a lot of fun.” For more info on Rich and images of the ‘silver bullet’, see the team site at www.richwoodland.com. Woodland was 9th in final practice and will start 22nd. Six-time ARCA champ, Frank Kimmel will start on the pole, BAM Racing driver Klaus Graf will start 7th and was fastest in final practice. Lineup and 2005 ARCA Schedule can be found at ARCARacing.com. The race will air live on Speed Channel, on Saturday, Oct 2nd at 2:00pm/et.(10-1-2004)
    UPDATE: nice job by Woodland, keeping out of all the wrecks and finishing 11th after running as high as 8th, imagine some credit goes to crew member Frank Parrish and the rest of the team…..Julian’s? Woodland even got a brief mention once after the last big wreck and the Jayski.com logos got on the tube for a few seconds. By the way, Blake Feese won the race [Hendrick developmental driver] and I hope Reed Sorenson isn’t expecting a Christmas card from Billy Venturini. See stroies and results on the ARCARacing.com site.(10-2-2004)
  • NC Governor’s visit will unveil results of motorsports impact study: Gov. Mike Easley will pay a visit to Mooresville next week for the annual meeting of the North Carolina Motorsports Association (NCMA). Easley is expected to speak Tuesday about the results of an economic impact study for the motorsports industry in North Carolina. The yearlong study analyzed the financial benefits that auto racing has and could bring to the state. N.C. Rep. Karen Ray of Mooresville was instrumental in landing the annual meeting here for the first time. A representative for Iredell and Catawba counties in the N.C. General Assembly, she has brought auto racing, and especially NASCAR, to the forefront of initiatives in Raleigh. That includes sponsoring a bill for stock car racing license plates, helping form a racing caucus in the General Assembly to promote racing, and now, bringing the NCMA annual meeting to Mooresville. “A good cross section of motorsports industry people will be present at the meeting, from (NCMA Chairman) Richard Petty to small businesses,” Ray said. Anyone can become a member of the NCMA [ncmotorsportsassociation.org], she added.(Mooresville Tribune)(10-2-2004)
  • Parts Seized at Talladega: There weren’t many parts confiscated by NASCAR inspectors prior to Friday’s Nextel Cup qualifying session, but what was found could be costly. The most serious infraction was the rear spoiler of the #9 Dodge driven by rookie Kasey Kahne, which was taken for its failure to meet the NASCAR template. The infraction is considered serious and will likely merit a significant penalty, NASCAR officials confirmed.
    Also taken Friday: an expired left-lap belt from the #10 Chevrolet driven by Scott Riggs and an unapproved rear coil spring and bolts taken from the #1 Chevrolet driven by Kenny Wallace.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-2-2004)
  • Inspection Process at Talladega: NASCAR pulled a little switch this week for Talladega inspections when they opened the garage a day earlier than usual. The effort, being heralded as a success by NASCAR, took a lot of the frantic movement out of the speedway inspection process. The idea was to get the cars on the ground, inspected and ready to go early Friday morning; and with the efforts of both NASCAR and the competitors the plan worked fairly well. The added bonus of an extra half-hour of practice time for the teams was the reward for the head start in the exacting and very involved speedway inspection process. NASCAR’s reward was a “friendlier schedule to deal with.” NASCAR opened the garage Thursday, with the promise that each team could make one pass through the inspection gauntlet that speedway cars must endure. The extra time made for a more casual inspection, and left most of the crew chiefs with extra pre-practice time to work on their cars. NASCAR sources said they didn’t find anything out of the ordinary in inspections here, but some teams had to grind edges off their cars to fit templates. There was also a curious set of rear spring buckets that were found on one of the DEI entries [#1], forcing NASCAR inspectors to check the other DEI cars that had already gotten their cleared for competition stickers.(Team Ford Racing)(10-2-2004)
  • Remember the ‘roof hatch’?: #6-Mark Martin has a roof hatch on the #6 Viagra Ford, the first time he or any of the Roush drivers have had one. Supposedly, the thinking was is that the faster cars all have one and the team wanted to see if Martin ran faster. As far as I know, only #38-Sadler and #15-Waltrip have a roof hatch, of course Waltrip made the hatch a bit famous by popping up out through it last year at Talladega after winning.(Speed Channel’s Happy Hour coverage)(10-2-2004)
  • Talladega now #4: #01-Joe Nemechek’s pole speed of 190.749 was less then the pole speed at Talladega in April, dropping Talladega Superspeedway to 4th on the fastest track category, behind:
    Texas, last pole speed 193.903mph; Track Record: 194.224 Mar 2002]
    Atlanta, 193.575 [197.478mph Nov 1997]
    Michigan, 190.865 (June 2004, Aug rain)[191.149 Aug 2000]
    from my 2005 Budweiser Shootout page.(10-2-2004)
  • Why Craven is in the #11 at Talladega: [Ricky] Craven is driving Joe Gibbs’ third [#11] team car here, after NASCAR decided that rookie J. J. Yeley didn’t have enough experience [on Superspeedway’s], and when sponsor Procter and Gamble (Old Spice) pushed Craven over Dave Blaney because of his years with Tide [Procter and Gamble.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-2-2004)
  • A Record Fit for a King: Richard “The King” Petty won twice in 46 Talladega starts. But his two wins managed to set an unusual record. The first win came on August 11, 1974. The second came on May 1, 1983, setting the mark for longest stretch between wins at the 2.66-mile oval.(FoxSports)(10-2-2004)
  • Petree leaves MWR: Andy Petree is no longer with Michael Waltrip’s race team after two weeks.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-2-2004)
  • Jeff Gordon Receives 2004 NASCAR Nextel Season Trophy: Jeff Gordon received an un-official “2004 NASCAR Nextel Regular Season Championship” trophy from his fans on Wednesday, Sept.29th, at the Hendrick race shop in Charlotte, NC. Though in a hurry and couldn’t pose for any pictures, Chrisy Gallagher, the Jeff Gordon Fan Director, said Jeff said “The trophy was awesome and to thank all those that were involved in giving it to him.” In a NASCAR teleconference on September 14th, Jeff Gordon relayed his dismay for not receiving a trophy for being the points leader at the end of the 26 race regular season after the Richmond by saying” Does that mean I get a trophy for that regular season (laughter)?” In several other instances that week, Jeff joked and was razed by the media about the absent trophy. A group of his fans at JeffGordonNews.Com.got together over the internet and collected funds to help offset costs for this 21″ silver cup made in Australia. In addition to the costs incurred the fans were able to donate $240.00 to the Jeff Gordon Foundation.(10-2-2004)
  • A healthier Cheerio: Honey Nut Cheerios [Cheerios sponsors the #43 Dodge and Jeff Green] will be giving someone that opportunity and encouraging people to live a healthier lifestyle in the process. The “heart healthy” person who can best answer the question, “How I Lowered My Cholesterol” will appear on a special-edition Honey Nut Cheerios box, which will be unveiled in February at Daytona. Search entrants will submit stories that detail how they have lowered their cholesterol and made a commitment to a healthier lifestyle at www.honeynutcheerios.com.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(10-2-2004)
  • More on “The Protest”: been asked about this, so the National Association for Minority Race Fans (http://www.namrf.com) who plan to protest at the NASCAR race at the Atlanta Motor Speedway Oct. 31, will supposedly also have some sort of protest at Talladega this weekend, and their strange and stealthy website is now up, with little information and no working links. See the past story on my Atlanta Race Track News page. Supposedly they will be allowed to protest today at Talladega around 3:00pm/et [2pm local](10-1-2004)
    UPDATE: Track president Grant Lynch said the National Association for Minority Race Fans had sent a letter to Alabama officials “asking for assistance to hold a peaceful demonstration sometime this weekend.” Lynch said he has been in contact by telephone only with the group’s representatives and had no firm information about how many protesters might show up, how they might arrive or whether they would agree to stage their demonstration on a 7-acre site west of the track’s main entrance as offered by officials. “The conversations have not been very informative,” said Lynch, who said he had talked with an attorney representing the group along with its director, whom he identified at Gerard Brown, and another representative who apparently plans to be on site for the protest this weekend. “We are asking all of our fans to be respectful for this group and all of the other individuals who might be on our property this weekend,” Lynch said. The National Association for Minority Race Fans first came to attention when a Clayton County, Ga., newspaper reported its plans to protest at Atlanta Motor Speedway on the final weekend of October.
    Its web site’s home page featured a mission statement saying the group wanted “to create a safe race track environment while pursuing the political, social and economic equality of minority groups and citizens who desire to enjoy NASCAR events without racial bigotry.” The password-protected site also featured a clock counting down to midnight Thursday, at which time the site was to open to the public. Just more than two hours before that point, however, the clock was stopped and the mission statement was replaced with another statement. It read: “In what we hope is a pivotal, positive step toward providing a safer haven for minority race fans, NASCAR has contacted NAMRF. The two organizations are currently in negotiations concerning a plan to resolve our philosophical differences and develop a more acceptable, comprehensive diversity plan.” It also said a protest planned for Talladega this weekend would proceed.
    Ramsey Poston, NASCAR managing director of corporate communications, denied that NASCAR has negotiated any deal with the group. “We did call them,” Poston said. “We want to speak with anyone who wants to talk about the issue of diversity or who wants to bring good ideas to the table.” Maj. Patrick Manning, chief of Alabama’s Highway Patrol division, said the suggested site for the demonstration is in a place that would be visible to fans arriving at the track without interrupting traffic flow into and out of the track.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-2-2004)


    October 1, 2004

  • ‘The Preview’ back in similar form for 2005: Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center says tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday [Oct 2nd] for a Jan. 8, 2005, event that will bring NASCAR drivers and fans together for a health and fitness event. The event will run from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C. The Wake Forest Baptist Fitness 500 will feature NASCAR drivers and crew members in a fitness competition and be followed by an auction and autograph session. Tickets are $15, and proceeds will benefit the center’s Brenner Children’s Hospital. Among those scheduled to take part are NASCAR President Mike Helton, team owner Ray Evernham, retired drivers Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip and current drivers Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, Dale Jarrett, Kenny Wallace, Rusty Wallace, Dale Jarrett, Jamie McMurray, Brendan Gaughan and Michael Waltrip. Tickets will go on sale at the coliseum box office, online at www.ticketmaster.com, at local Ticketmaster outlets or by calling (336) 722-6400. Wristbands for driver autograph sessions will be dispersed through a priority system based on the time of ticket purchase and are subject to availability.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(10-1-2004)
  • The Rumor that won’t die UPDATE 2 more on Gaughan: Roger Penske has been testing three Cup drivers for a possible driver change for next season, and that clearly puts rookie #77-Brendan Gaughan on the hot seat.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-27-2004)
    AND been told by many readers who were at Dover over the past weekend, that all Brendan Gaughan merchandise at the souvienir trailers at the track were selling at a 40% discount, usually a sign of a paint scheme. sponsor or driver change.(9-28-2004)
    UPDATE: In regards to the 40 percent price reduction on Brendan Gaughan’s souvenir trailer at Dover, it is standard procedure for most souvenir companies to reduce prices towards the end of a season in order to facilitate the movement of inventory in preparation for the upcoming season.(Penske Racing)(9-30-2004)
    UPDATE 2: Penske Racing South has the option for a two-year extension to Nextel Cup rookie Brendan Gaughan’s contract but has not yet decided whether to exercise it, team co-founder Don Miller said Friday. “Brendan is in the #77 now, he’ll be in it next week and through the end of the season,” Miller said. Beyond that, Miller said the team had made no decisions. In the past week, reigning Craftsman Truck Series champion Travis Kvapil tested the #77 at Kansas last week which fueled speculation Gaughan’s tenure at Penske is shaky. Gaughan has struggled this season. He is 32nd in points with one top-10 finish. He has failed to finish in eight races in 28 starts. Penske has four teams at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend, entering the #06 Mobil 1 Dodge for Chad Blount, who has done extensive testing for the organization.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-1-2004)
  • More on Kvapil to Cup: 2003 Truck Series Champ, Travis Kvapil recently tested a Nextel Cup #77 Dodge for Penske-Jasper Racing at Kansas Speedway, and several weeks ago was rumored to be the replacement for Nextel Cup rookie Brendan Gaughan for the 2005 season. Kvapil has been rumored for some time in Silly Season to be negotiating a Nextel ride. He confirmed as much Wednesday in a telephone conversation but declined to identify the team or elaborate further. “Hopefully in about a week we can talk a lot more about it,” Kvapil said. “Participation at the Nextel Cup level, I would say that’s accurate. I can’t really say a team or car just yet.” But Kvapil said he is fully committed to his job with Bang Racing. Kvapil, who has five career Craftsman wins, said he and owner Alex Meshkin are focused on making the move to the Busch Series. “Sounds like he’s got a majority of the sponsorship pretty well wrapped up and moving forward,” Kvapil said. “I’ve been in the Truck Series for four years and feel like I’m ready for the next challenge. Bang Racing has the same goals as I do, they want to move up the ladder in the series, just like me.” Kvapil is under contract with Bang Racing through the 2005 season, and said he would request Meshkin’s approval before taking part in any Nextel Cup project. “Right now, I would say for sure that I’m going to be Busch Series racing next season. Anything beyond that is definitely up in the air.”(paraphrased from the Capital Times)(10-1-2004)
  • Martinsville Testing: the following drivers are scheduled to test for the upcoming Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway:
    Oct. 5 – #97-Kurt Busch, #16-Greg Biffle, #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmy Johnson, #19-Jeremy Mayfield and #40-Sterling Marlin
    Oct. 6 – #97-Kurt Busch, #21-Ricky Rudd, #48-Jimmy Johnson, #19-Jeremy Mayfield and #40-Sterling Marlin
    Oct. 12 – #17-Matt Kenseth, #01-Joe Nemechek and #10-Scott Riggs
    Oct. 13 – #01-Joe Nemechek and #10-Scott Riggs.(Martinsville Speedway PR)(10-1-2004)
  • Nemechek wins the pole at Talladega: ‘Front Row’ Joe Nemechek won the Budweiser pole for the EA Sports 500 at Talladega Superspeedway with a speed of 190.749mph. It is Nemechek’s 7th pole of his career, 3rd at Talladega and his first pole since October 13, 2000 at Talladega, 132 races ago. Starting 2nd is #21-Ricky Rudd after running 190-609mph, the rest of the top five are #88-Jarett, #10-Riggs and #24-Gordon. #19-Mayfield is the highest starting Dodge at 9th. Missing the race were #72-Shelmerdine, #80-Long and #37-Lepage. Some part-timers who made the race include: #02-Hermie Sadler, 11th; #11-Ricky Craven, 20th #33-Kerry Earnhardt, 22nd; #06-Chad Blount, 31st; #1-Kenny Wallace starts 43rd, the final provisional place. #99-Dave Blaney qualified 25th for Carl Edwards, who will practice the car some on Saturday and run the car on Sunday.
    For starting lineups/qualifying results, see:
    Jayski’s Talladega Qualifying/Starting Lineup Page
    ThatsRacin.com
    Motorsports One
    NASCAR.com.(10-1-2004)
  • Talladega Qualifying Notes: —- Joe Nemechek won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Bud Pole for the EA Sports 500, lapping Talladega Superspeedway in 50.202 seconds at 190.749 mph. This is Nemechek’s seventh career Bud Pole in 351 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races. His most recent Bud Pole came at Talladega on Oct. 13, 2000 – 133 races ago.
    —- Nemechek became the 11th different Bud Pole winner in 2004. Jeff Gordon (six), Ryan Newman (five), Kasey Kahne (four), Casey Mears (two), Brian Vickers (two) and Jeremy Mayfield (two) are the drivers with more than one Bud Pole this season. Qualifying was canceled at Watkins Glen, second Michigan and second New Hampshire due to weather.
    —- It is Nemechek’s first Bud Pole and his 13th top-10 start in 2004. It is his third Bud Pole and seventh top-10 start in 20 races at Talladega.
    —- Nemechek (fall 1999, 2000 and 2004) is one of the three repeat Bud Pole winner in the past 12 races at Talladega. Jeremy Mayfield (April 2003 and April 2000) and Stacy Compton (both races 2001) are the other repeat Bud Pole winners since 1998.
    —- Nemechek also became the 10th different Bud Pole winner in the past 11 restrictor-plate races. Qualifying was canceled at Talladega in October 2002.
    —- This is the third fastest restrictor-plate pole speed since Nemechek won the Bud Pole with a speed of 198.331 mph at Talladega in October 1999.
    —- Ricky Rudd had the second-fastest time with a qualifying lap of 50.239 seconds at 190.609 mph and will join Nemechek on the front row. It is his 18th top-10 start in his 56 races at Talladega and his second on the front row this season. He won the Bud Pole for the Aaron’s 499 in April.
    —- This is 11th Bud Pole for Chevrolet in 2004. Dodge has 13 Bud Poles and Ford has two.
    —- Dale Jarrett (third) posted his sixth top-10 start in 2004. It is his 15th top-10 start in 36 races at Talladega.
    —- Scott Riggs (fourth) posted his fifth top-10 start in 2004. He has posted top-10 starts in both of his races at Talladega.
    —- Jeff Gordon (fifth) posted his 19th top-10 start in 2004, tying Ryan Newman for the most top-10s this season. It is Gordon’s 13th top-10 start in his 24 races at Talladega.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(10-1-2004)
  • Stock Car Fans – Ramblings – Talladega:
    You know we called him Front Row Joe for a reason (it’d just been awhile). Joe Nemechek grabbed the Bud Pole for Sunday’s EA Sports 500 (it’s in the game….don’t you just find yourself saying that everytime you hear EA? Gotta make those marketing types smile all the way to the bank) with a speed of 190.749 mph (50.202 sec) to become the 11th qualifier for next February’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. This was career pole #7 for Joe, but his first since he grabbed the top-spot when we were here in October of 2000!
    Ricky Rudd (2nd) was just edged out by less than 4/100ths of a second or he would have been a sweeper. This is his best starting spot since he had the pole when we were here in April.
    Dale Jarrett (3rd) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Dover in September of 2002.
    Scott Riggs (4th) tied his career-best qualifying effort today. He also started 4th when we were at Fontana in May.
    Hermie Sadler (11th, in the best equipment of his life) has his best starting spot since he started 8th at Martinsville in October of 2002.
    Ricky Craven (20th in a Joe Gibbs Chevy this weekend) has his best starting spot since he lined up 10th at Loudon in July.
    Chad Blount (31st in a Penske Dogde) has his career-best starting spot. He started 37th in his only other start at Chicagoland in July.
    STREAKIN….Jeremy Mayfield has 7 Top-10 starts in a row.
    Jeff Gordon has 7 Top-10 starts in the last 8 races.
    (Stock Car Fans Nextel Cup Newsletter)(10-1-2004)
  • Penske Stuff: Speculation about Brendan Gaughan’s future in the #77 Dodge is rampant this week after Craftsman Truck Series driver Travis Kvapil tested the car at Kansas Speedway and Chad Blount was hired to drive a fourth Penske Racing South car at Talladega. Penske South president Don Miller said Blount got the ride as a reward for all the testing he’s done for the team. “We are not grooming anyone for Rusty Wallace’s or Brendan Gaughan’s seat,” Miller said. “This is simply a reward for a job well done.” There has been no word on who will take Wallace’s #2 Miller Lite Dodge when he steps out of it for good at the end of the 2005 season.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(10-1-2004)
  • If Dale Jr. was NASCAR Prez for a day: If Dale Earnhardt Jr. were NASCAR president for a day, he says he’d cut 75 percent of Nextel Cup races to 300 miles, drop the field from 43 to 38 cars and limit race weekends to two-day programs. In a column in this week’s NASCAR Scene, Earnhardt Jr. also says he’d eliminate fan access to the garage area, limit Cup drivers to no more than five Busch Series or Craftsman Truck Series races and move the July race at Daytona International Speedway to the end of the season.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)
    AND did ya miss or see the CBS 60 Minutes interview with DaleEarnhardt Jr.? See information, images and a video clip at cbs.com.(10-1-2004)
  • more on the TV Ratings at Dover will be a bit difficult to gage as last year the race was on NBC [got a big volleyball game instead today], last years ratings at Dover on NBC was 4.2 rating and a 10 share. The story says the race drew 4,591,000 households, which was 27% more than 2002’s household reach when the race was on TNT.(from my 2003 TV Ratings Page)(9-26-2004)
    2004 Dover Ratings: but can compare households watching, this week Nielsen and Zap2it.com show the Nextel Cup race at Dover, the 2nd most watched show on cable, behind the NFL game on EPSN [Buccaneers/Raiders]. The race had a 3.2 Rating with 5,001,000 Total Viewers watching.
    HOWEVER: Zap2It shows those watching as 3,453,000 Audience and using the numbers at Nielsen 3.2 x 1,084,000 = 3,468,800 households.. Sixth on the list was something called Nextel/Dover Wreck on TNT, not sure what the heck that means, but it had a 2.9 cable rating and 4,605,000 total viewers watching, still up over last year on NBC. By the way, SpongeBob was 9th on the Nieson list at 2.7 and 2,995,000 and 4th on Zap2it with 3.0 3,268,000. So…is this up, status quo or down?(9-29-2004)
    UPDATE: Nielsen Media Research’s weekly ranking of ratings for television shows on cable channels shows that TNT’s airing of last Sunday’s MBNA America 400 at Dover International Speedway ranked second to an NFL game on ESPN. The Nextel Cup race drew a 3.2 national rating and 5,001,000 viewers to trail the NFL game between Tampa Bay and Oakland, which had a 6.4 rating and 9,436,000 viewers. Because the 2003 Dover race was broadcast on NBC, which reaches far more households than the cable outlet, direct comparisons of the figures aren’t possible. But the 3.9 cable rating for the race was down 3 percent from 2002, when TNT also carried the event. The Philadelphia Daily News reports that the combined NBC/TNT ratings so far are a 4.3, up from 4.2 last year.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(10-1-2004)
  • Gillette Young Guns – EA Sports 500 Notes: By picking Ryan Newman as the top Gillette Young Gun finisher in the MBNA America 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26th, Jennifer D. of Beaumont, TX was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Jennifer picked Newman as the highest finishing Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline.
    As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Newman. This is the third time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Newman.
    The Gillette Young Guns are 14 for 28 in the win column so far in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have four victories, followed by Kurt Busch with three victories, then Matt Kenseth and Newman who have two victories apiece.
    For 24 of the 28 races run in 2004, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings have been led by four members of the Gillette Young Guns. Dale Earnhardt Jr. led for 10 weeks, Jimmie Johnson led for nine weeks, Matt Kenseth led for four weeks and Kurt Busch led for two weeks. Five members of the Gillette Young Guns have made the top-10 and been awarded a chance to battle for the Chase for the 2004 NEXTEL Cup. They are Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Clinched at Bristol), Matt Kenseth (Clinched at California), Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman (Clinch at Richmond). Earnhardt Jr. has competed in nine races at Talladega Superspeedway, scoring four victories and seven top-10 finishes. He has an 8.0 average finish at Talladega, the best among all drivers with more than five starts there. He finished second in this race one year ago and second there in April, extending a streak of seven top-10 finishes, the longest streak among active drivers there.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(10-1-2004)